An electrophysiological study is an invasive procedure that is undertaken to determine the cause of the abnormal heart rhythms. The procedure is performed with sedation, local anaesthetic and intravenous painkillers.
A number of catheters are introduced into the heart via the vein at the top of the leg, occasionally the artery at the top of the leg and occasionally the vein under the collar bone. Various measurements are taken of the electrical conducting system of the heart and then the abnormal heart rhythms are started off by various pacing manoeuvres. This all assists in making a diagnosis. In most cases the cause is identified then an ablation procedure is performed at the same time. Very rarely the study does not identify the abnormal heart rhythm and no ablation is done.