Bethesda Heart Hospital

Bethesda Heart Hospital

Electrophysiology Procedures


Electrophysiology Studies

This procedure involves the placement of a various number of catheters with small electrodes into the heart from the groin (sometimes also neck) veins and at times arteries to several locations within the heart where signals are monitored and recorded. Electrical impulses are then used to evaluate the patient’s own “pacemaker” (sinus node) as well as conduction within the heart. Attempts are then made to induce an abnormal rhythm to assist with diagnostic decisions and need for medication, ablation or possibly device therapy. For some cases, a special mapping system similar to GPS with sensors (so called 3-D mapping) outside the body linked to a catheter within the heart may be used to find a “spot” in the heart which may need to be ablated.


Catheter Ablation

This procedure involves the use of special catheters, which employs various forms of energy to “burn away” short circuits or abnormal “spots” within the heart that can be the cause of cardiac arrhythmias. This is done in conjunction with an electrophysiology study.


Pacemaker Implantation

The placement of “wires” (called leads) into the heart using x-ray guidance via veins within the upper chest and connection to a generator (“battery”) and placed under the skin in the upper chest. This is done to treat “slow” heart rhythms and electrical blockages, which may cause patients to pass out, feel dizzy and/or tired.


Defibrillator Implantation

This involves the placement of leads into the heart to treat certain “fast” (tachy) abnormal heart rhythms and in patients who are at risk to having one of the rhythms that may lead the heart to essentially “stop”.


Cardiac Resynchronization (Biventricular) Devices

These are pacemakers and defibrillators that are placed using a special “third” lead place behind the major pumping chamber (left ventricle) of the heart. This technology has been shown to improve the function of this chamber in the majority of patients in whom they are implanted.


Implantable Loop Recorder

This device is a small monitor (about the size of your small finger) which is implanted under the chest wall skin (no lead required) to monitor the heart rate and rhythm that have unexplained symptoms, such as recurrent syncope (passing out) etc.


Tilt Table Testing

Patients are placed on a table with straps placed around their legs, midsection, and chest to secure them in place and connected for continuous EKG and blood pressure monitoring. The table is then tilted head up to mimic standing in a stationary position. A drug such as nitroglycerin may be used to enhance the possibility of the patient passing out. The test is used to evaluate patients who have unexplained passing out (syncope) dizziness etc.


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For more information or referral to a Board Certified electrophysiologist, please call our Physician Referral Line at 561.737.7733, ext. 84499.