Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology
Cardiac Electrophysiology (also referred to as clinical cardiac electrophysiology, arrhythmia services, or electrophysiology), is a branch of the medical specialty of cardiology and is concerned with the study and treatment of rhythm disorders of the heart. Cardiologists with expertise in this area are usually referred to as electrophysiologists.
Electrophysiologists are trained in the mechanism, function, and performance of the electrical activities of the heart. Electrophysiologists work closely with other cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to assist or guide therapy for heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias). They are trained to perform interventional and surgical procedures to treat cardiac arrhythmia.
An electrophysiology study is any of a number of invasive (intracardiac) and non-invasive recording of spontaneous electrical activity, as well as of cardiac responses to programmed electrical stimulation. These studies are performed to assess arrhythmias, elucidate symptoms, evaluate abnormal electrocardiograms, assess risk of developing arrhythmias in the future, and design treatment.
In addition to diagnostic testing of the electrical properties of the heart, electrophysiologists are trained in therapeutic and surgical methods to treat many of the rhythm disturbances of the heart. Therapeutic modalities employed in this field include antiarrhythmic drug therapy and surgical implantation of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.