Penn Heart and Vascular

Electrophysiology Cardiac Procedures at the Cardiac Arrhythmia Program

What to Expect Electrophysiology Cardiac Procedures

This information is designed to provide you with an overview of what to expect before, during and after your electrophysiology procedure. It should serve only as a guide, as treatment will vary for each patient. A nurse will review specific instructions with you before your procedure.

Diagnostic and Therapeutic (Ablation) Studies: The Night Before Your Procedure

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure, except sips of water with medication

A member of our staff will contact you at home the day before your appointment to discuss preparation for your procedure. It is important that you follow all instructions.

Our staff member will also ask the following questions, some of which may be repetitive, but help to ensure your safety.

  • Have you had a blood test? If so, when and where? You may be asked to bring a copy of your last blood medications are you taking? If not known, be sure to bring all of them with you to the hospital.
  • When and where was your most recent electrophysiology (EPS) study?
  • Are you diabetic? If so, are you on insulin?
  • Do you have any allergies, particularly to contrast media, latex or shellfish? This includes contrast dyes used in various X-rays.
  • Have your test with you.
Diagnostic Study: The Day of Your Procedure
Before the Procedure
  • Blood work may need to be checked the day of your procedure.
  • An intravenous (IV) line will be placed.
During the Procedure
  • Medication may be administered to relax you during the test. Other medications may be administered to assist with the diagnosis.
  • You may be asked to remove your dentures.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and EKG patches on your skin to monitor your heartbeat.
  • Oxygen may be administered; an oxygen probe will be placed on your finger to monitor your breathing.
  • Your procedure sites will be prepped and cleansed with an antibacterial agent.
  • You will be covered from chin to toe with a sterile blanket.
  • Pacing catheters (thin tubes) will be used to pace your heart.
  • Be sure to report any pain or discomfort to your nurse. An anesthetist may also be present.
  • You will be required to lie still during the procedure.
After the Procedure
  • IV and heart monitor will be removed.
  • You will be required to rest in bed for four to six hours.
  • Be sure to report any bleeding, warmth, or wetness around catheter entry sites to your nurse, as well as any pain or discomfort.
Therapeutic (Ablation) Study: The Day of Your Procedure
Before the Procedure
  • Blood work may need to be checked the day of your procedure. Some patients may need a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE).
  • An IV line will be placed.
During the Procedure
  • Medication may be administered to relax you during testing. Other medications may be administered to assist with the diagnosis.
  • You may be asked to remove your dentures.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and EKG patches on your skin to monitor your heartbeat throughout the procedure.
  • Oxygen may be administered; an oxygen probe will be placed on your finger to monitor your breathing.
  • Your procedure sites will be prepped and cleansed with an antibacterial agent.
After the Procedure
  • IV and heart monitor will be removed.
  • You will be required to rest in bed for four to six hours.
  • Be sure to report any bleeding, warmth, or wetness around catheter entry sites to your nurse, as well as any pain or discomfort.

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