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Electrophysiology 

Electrophysiology
Chapter:
Electrophysiology
Author(s):
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199651344.003.0013
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date: 02 June 2020

Electrophysiology (EP) is concerned with electrical problems of the heart. This subspecialty of cardiology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias. Electrophysiologists could be described as heart electricians. Electrophysiologists treat patients with slow arrhythmias (bradycardia) and fast arrhythmias (tachycardia). This chapter focuses on tachycardia diagnosis and treatment. Some tachycardias are considered simply a nuisance for the patient while others, specifically ventricular tachycardia, can be lethal. The EP study (EPS) is a powerful diagnostic tool at the electrophysiologist’s disposal. This invasive procedure uses catheters and recording systems to pinpoint the cause of a tachycardia which helps direct treatment. This may involve such measures as medications but in many cases can take the form of ablation. Ablation is a curative form of treatment, similar to an EPS, where the cardiac cells causing the tachycardia are destroyed using heat or cold. This short chapter is intended for cardiac nurses who require a brief introduction to the highly complex specialty of cardiac EP.

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