My EP Study Experience
by chuparosa, Oct 19, 2009
Just thought I would share what happened to me during my EP Study.

When I arrived at the EP Lab, quite a few electrodes where attached to my upper body. Two large sticky patches were placed on me – one on my lower back on one on my left side. I also had an IV line inserted in my left arm.

Once in the lab, drapes were put all over me. The nurses were very kind to put a cap on my head as it was freezing cold in the room and I was shivering. I was administered some drugs to relax me but I most certainly did not feel relaxed. The room itself is like a command center. It's very high tech and has huge monitors just over the side of the table.

I was fully awake for the whole procedure. I did not feel any pain where the catheters were inserted but I did feel the catheter in my heart. I did have some chest discomfort. While the study was being performed, it was really frightening feeling my heart flip flop. Hearing the beeps of the heart monitor when my heart was beating oddly and fast only made me more anxious and freaked out.

After about two hours the test was completed and I was told the situation was more serious than they thought and that I would have to come back for an ablation.

I was wheeled into recovery where I stayed for about 2 hours and then I was discharged. In recovery I was given a small soda and some graham crackers but even though I took only a tiny bite of the crackers and a tiny sip of the soda, I got very queasy. I felt really unstable when released and was hanging onto my husband when I was walking so I didn't fall over.

Overall I would say this procedure is no joke and quite frightening. I still don't really know my diagnosis and I am really dreading having to go back for the ablation. I was told to follow up with the doctor is one month.
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Member Comments (10)
by BobRBob, Oct 19, 2009
Chuparosa, thanks for the report. It's certainly of interest to those of us who have yet to have any of these EP procedures performed on us. Interesting, also, that they did no sedation. Practices seem to vary on this point.

Hope you are feeling better soon and best of luck with your ablation if such is required.
by itdoodBlank, Oct 19, 2009
I think the sedation thing might have something to do with them wanting to see how the sympathetic nervous system is reacting.  Under sedation this will be muted.    This is a complete guess on my part.
by kevk, Oct 20, 2009
I was also told by my EP that he wanted to know my symptoms during the test. My test only lasted 20 minutes do to instant v-fib. I ques that I didn`t need sedation my heart did it for me. I was implanted with an icd two days later, Than had to do the test again to see if the icd was working. They gave me valium to keep me calm test started and I went out again, the icd did it`s job.
Five ICD`s later good so far.  Chuparosa that was a very good description of everything I remember. I was told that I had a serious electrical problem that could not be corrected.
by Mom2four85, Oct 20, 2009
wow 5 icd's?  what happened? I don't want to highjack someone else's thread so pm me if you feel I'm doing that.

I had Versed during my Ablation and Cardiac Cath, but can't remember what they gave me for my PM/ICD implant.  Had to have it installed due to vfib also; did they use paddles to resuscitate you?  My dr was interested in seeing if I would do it again, and I did twice more.
by kevk, Oct 21, 2009
My EP study was back in 1991 so I started the ICD thing 18 years ago, I get an average of 4 years per battery. Yes they used the paddles to shock me back.
by middy, Oct 21, 2009
Well I just had my ablation 2 days ago.  I had versed and they called it conscious sedation.  I kept waking up with pain in my left shoulder and when I said it, I heard the doc order more sedation.  The procedure took 5 hours.  They kept me over nite for observation and there were no more arrythmias while I was laying in bed.  However, now I'm home, I feel very weak and like my legs don't want to hold me up.  I had s.o.b. and chest pain on exertion for 10 years and they never found the cause.  The atrial tach only started about 2 years ago.  So I think I'm still left with the first complaint and don't know that that will ever be foun d and corrected.
The hospital was VERY COLD.  They kept piling blankets on me.
My experience.
by Mom2four85, Oct 21, 2009
@kevk ahhh that explains it :)  Im hoping my pm/icd lasts the 7-10 years it projects on reports

@Jule - oh yeah I was freezing so bad during my cardiac cath after my ablation they had to do something to keep me still so they could even do the procedure.

I was in heaven, they put on a warming blanket that goes under your lower half of your body and blows out warm air....it was great; and they even had to turn it down some....I told them if I started shaking like that again to use it again.  

by tlr812, Feb 13, 2012
I just had an EP Study with a partial ablation less than two weeks ago.  It was an absolutely horrible experience.  I did not feel the insertion of the catheters and am pretty sure I may have dozed off for a few moments but woke abruptly to the worst chest pain and shortness of breath I have ever experienced.  I was terrified that I was having a heart attack.  The pain kept coming in waves.  I don't know if I was feeling the effects of the meds and external pacing to recreate the abnormal rhythm or if it was the actual ablation.  In addition to the terrible pain and not being able to breathe, I started shaking uncontrollably, so much in fact that the doctor could not finish the procedure for fear that he might cause damage to my heart.  He stopped the procedure and told me that we'd wait three months to see if what he was able to complete would be enough to hold off the SVT's but if not, he'd go back under full sedation and complete the procedure.  He said now that my heart had been mapped and he knew where the problem was, there was no need for me to be awake if a follow up procedure was needed.  When I asked him why I experienced so much pain, he was unable to give me an answer.  I was given versed, dilaudid and propofol, all of which I am told are the normal drugs to sedate you and prevent you from feeling pain during the procedure.  Since the procedure, I've had very strange heart flutters and my heart seems to beat very hard.  Has anyone else been through this procedure and experienced anything similar?  The procedure wasn't anything like what I was told (and read) that it would be like and I haven't really felt well since.
by tom_h, Feb 13, 2012
I'm sorry you had a bad experience. It makes you think twice about going back for more, right?  This is the exact reason my EP sedates everybody if at all possible.  If you were asleep, you probably wouldn't have had to go back in again.  I wish you the best and hope the next time is a more positive experience.