Preparing for the EP Study
Unless you are already hospitalized, you will probably be admitted to the hospital for the study. In some cases, you may undergo the procedure at the hospital as an outpatient.
Several routine lab tests will be performed, including an ECG and blood tests. Blood tests may be done one or two days ahead of the study.
The doctor performing the procedure will review your medical history and examine you. You may be seen by the doctor at the office several days before the procedure.
The doctor will explain the procedure, its purpose, potential benefits and possible risks. This is a good time to ask questions and, most importantly, to share any feelings or concerns you may have about the EP study. You will then be asked to sign a consent form.
A nurse will shave and cleanse the area where the catheters will be inserted. In most cases this will be the groin; in some cases, the arm or neck area. Shaving and cleansing makes it easier to insert the catheters and helps to avoid infection.
A small intravenous needle ("IV line") will be inserted into a vein in your arm. It allows drugs to be injected directly into the vein, if necessary. You may also be given a sedative to help you relax.
Before Your EP Study
Get specific instructions about the food you can have. Generally, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for six to eight hours before the procedure. You may have sips of water to swallow your medications.
Make arrangements with a family member or friend to drive you to the hospital.
Be sure to check with your doctor several days before the EP study. You may be asked to stop taking certain medications for two or three days before the procedure. This can help get more accurate test results.
Bring a list of all the medications you are currently taking. It is important for the doctor to know the exact names and dosages of any medications that you take.
Be sure to mention to the doctor (or nurse) if you have experienced allergic reactions to any medications.
Because the EP study can be quite lengthy, a urinary catheter may be inserted to drain your bladder during the procedure.