Health Matters

What is Electrophysiology (EP)?

Posted by Dr. David Adler on Jul 30, 2018 8:09:00 AM

When someone's heart doesn't beat normally, doctors use EP to find out why

If love isn't the reason your heart is racing, it could be an abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia. It's usually not dangerous, but can be scary. We can put your mind – and your heart – at ease. Electrical signals usually travel through the heart in a regular pattern. Heart attacks, aging and high blood pressure may cause scarring of the heart. This may cause the heart to beat in an irregular (uneven) pattern. Extra abnormal electrical pathways found in certain congenital heart defects can also cause arrhythmias.

DOCTORS USE EP TO SEE:

  • Where an arrhythmia is coming from.
  • How well certain medicines work to treat your arrhythmia.
  • If they should treat a problem by correcting abnormal electrical signals. This procedure is called catheter ablation.
  • If a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) might help you.
  • If you are at risk for heart problems such as fainting or sudden cardiac death due to cardiac arrest (when your heart stops beating).

At a hospital or clinic, doctors and nurses do EP in a room that has special equipment for the tests. You may hear this room called the electrophysiology laboratory, or EP lab. Some call it the catheterization laboratory (cath lab).

DURING THE TEST

  • A nurse will put an IV (intravenous line) in your arm. You’ll get medicine (a sedative) that will help you relax. But you’ll be awake and able to follow instructions during the test.
  • Your nurse will clean and shave the part of your body where the doctor will be working. This is usually in the groin but may be the arm or neck.
  • A local anesthetic will be given to make the area numb. Your doctor will make a needle puncture through your skin and into your blood vessel. A small straw-sized tube called a sheath will be inserted into your artery or vein. The doctor will gently guide several specialized EP catheters into your blood vessel through the sheath and advance them to your heart. A video screen will show the position of the catheters. You may feel some pressure in the area where the sheath was inserted, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
  • Your doctor will send small electric pulses through the catheters to make your heart beat at different speeds. You may feel your heart beat stronger or faster.
  • Electrical signals produced by your heart will be picked up by the special catheters and recorded. This is called cardiac mapping and allows the doctor to locate where arrhythmias are coming from.
  • Your doctor will remove the catheters and the IV line. Your nurse will put pressure on the puncture site to stop any bleeding.
  • An EP study usually lasts 1 to 4 hours.

If the type and location of the arrhythmia is identified and an appropriate therapy decided, cardiac ablation or insertion of a pacemaker or ICD may be performed during or immediately after the EPS.

Dr. David Adler is a cardiologist on staff at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center

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Topics: Cardiology, Health Care 101




Preventing Food Poisoning this Summer

Posted by Connie Scott, MSM, RD, CSSD on Jul 16, 2018 11:17:00 AM

Ants aren’t the only pests ready to spoil your picnic

Food poisoning may also be lurking around the corner. Here are a few easy food handling steps you can take to keep your summertime al fresco meals healthy and fun!

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Topics: Emergency Services, Health Care 101, Digestive Health, Lifestyle & Wellness




How to Choose the Right Place to Get a Mammogram

Posted by Dr. Antonio Ruiz on Jul 9, 2018 12:00:00 AM

There are A LOT of options out there

There are a lot of options out there, but choosing where to get your mammogram can often be as important as choosing to get one at all. That’s because your comfort, and the available screening technology, should be top priority. Here’s what I suggest you look for when choosing where to get your yearly mammogram.

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Topics: Women's Health, Health Care 101, Breast Cancer, Mammography




A Step-by-step Guide to a Mammogram

Posted by Dr. Antonio Ruiz on Jul 2, 2018 7:40:00 AM

A non-invasive X-ray of the breast

The word alone can conjure up anxiety in many women, but a mammogram is simply a non-invasive X-ray of the breast. Knowing what to expect during a screening mammogram may ease your panic just a bit.

While each woman’s experience is different, most women report the test as uncomfortable, but not intolerable. In all, the process takes about 20 minutes.


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Topics: Women's Health, Health Care 101, Breast Cancer, Mammography




Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?

Posted by Dr. Anthony Viol on Jun 13, 2018 7:29:00 AM

Over Two Million Americans Are Diagnosed Each Year

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Topics: Family Health 101, Health Care 101, Lifestyle & Wellness, Breast Cancer




5 Ways Adults Can Prepare for Weekend Athletics

Posted by Erika Smith on Jun 11, 2018 9:28:00 AM

Are You a Weekend Warrior?

Adults who spend their time off playing on soccer leagues, hitting the tennis courts or jogging in fun runs often find that they’re competing with their bodies as well as the opposing team.

Doctors even have a name for these sometime athletes: weekend warriors. It’s a reference to the two-day intense span that most adults devote to their game, hobby or sport, followed by several days of inactivity (and soreness) during the week.

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Topics: Health Care 101, Lifestyle & Wellness, Orthopedics




The ABC's of Skin Cancer Screening

Posted by Dr. Anthony Viol on May 31, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Diligent Skin Examinations are Important

As the summer months heat up, so does your risk for too much sun exposure−a major cause of skin cancer. As with other cancers, the earlier and less invasive the skin cancer is when detected, the easier it is to treat and cure. But no matter what the time of year, diligent skin examinations are important, including an annual one by a physician.

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Topics: Cancer Care, Family Health 101, Health Care 101




Behind the Scenes of a Heart Attack

Posted by Dustin Harley, R.N. on May 28, 2018 7:23:00 AM

Learn What Any Hospital Should Do

Have you ever heard of “door-to-balloon time?” It’s that critical amount of time that it takes for a heart attack patient to get from an initial assessment into the Emergency Room, and it should be under 90 minutes. During this time, an accredited Chest Pain Center should begin an intricate set of steps to guide treatment once they receive their patient.

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Topics: Cardiology, Health Care 101




Preventing Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

Posted by Dr. Nitish Manning on May 14, 2018 7:49:00 AM

Spring has sprung and so have your sneezes

Allergies can wreak havoc on your system, causing symptoms from watery or itchy eyes to coughing, congestion and possibly even a rash. While they've become synonymous with spring, allergies can actually be seasonal or year-round, depending on your trigger. The first step to controlling your bothersome symptoms is figuring out what you're allergic to.

You can narrow it down by taking note of your symptoms and their patterns. Then you can work to avoid the allergen. Below are tips to reduce both seasonal and year-round environmental allergens, including dust mites, mold, animal dander and pollens.

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Topics: Family Health 101, Health Care 101




Why Every Adult Needs an Advance Directive

Posted by Grace Padgett on Apr 2, 2018 7:39:00 AM

What if an accident or illness caused you to be unable to make medical decisions for yourself?

It's a worst-case scenario, but a medical emergency or crisis can occur at any time, rendering you incapable of making or communicating your health care choices. An Advance Directive can help by giving premeditated direction to a loved one or physician rather than asking them to guess about your wishes if that time should come.

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Topics: Family Health 101, Health Care 101