What Is an EP Cardiologist?

An electrophysiology (EP) cardiologist, usually referred to as an electrophysiologist, specializes in diagnosing and treating abnormal heart rhythms. Cardiac electrophysiology refers to the study of the heart's electrical activities.

  1. Background

    • Electrical impulses control the heart's rhythmic contractions, which pump blood continuously throughout the body. Good circulation is necessary to provide oxygen and nutrients to body cells. Problems with the heart's electrical system can cause poor circulation and medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest.

    Conditions and Treatment

    • Electrophysiologists diagnose and treat arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats. They also help insert pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, which regulate heartbeats. In addition, electrophysiologists sometimes perform cardiac ablation to electrically destroy the defective heart tissue that caused an irregular heartbeat.

    Diagnostic Tests

    • Electrophysiologists are trained to run several tests to diagnose heart rhythm problems. For example, echocardiograms rely on sound waves to produce a moving picture of heart function. Electrophysiology studies (EPS) involve testing a patient's heart in a controlled setting to determine whether a patient is at risk for arrhythmias or cardiac arrest.

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