The award-winning cardiovascular specialists affiliated with Memorial Hermann Health System are committed to providing exceptional, patient-focused care. We diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of heart and vascular conditions, striving for the best possible outcomes.

Using the latest technology, we perform more than 200,000 procedures each year. Memorial Hermann offers a full spectrum of care for a variety of cardiac conditions, including lifesaving heart attack care, minimally invasive diagnostic testing, and complex surgical options.

What Is Cardiac Electrophysiology?

Electrophysiology is one of the many methods we utilize to provide comprehensive cardiac care. If your doctor suspects an arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) when listening to your heart with a stethoscope, an electrophysiology study may be appropriate to diagnose the condition and guide treatment going forward.

Electrophysiology (EP) is a process used to diagnose and treat conditions related to heart arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm that may occur in normal hearts as well as in hearts with underlying heart disease.

It is important to properly diagnose and manage a heart arrhythmia because it can lead to problems like heart disease, stroke or death. EP studies measure the electrical activity of the heart to determine where the abnormal heartbeat is coming from. The test will occur in a catheterization (cath) lab while you are sedated.

Conditions Treated by Cardiac Electrophysiology

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Bradycardia (heartbeat that is too slow)
  • Tachycardia (heartbeat that is too fast)
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Ventricular arrhythmia
  • Fainting
  • Other heart-rhythm disorders

Types of Electrophysiology Treatment Options

Based on the EP test results, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan that could include:

  • Cardiac ablation
  • EP devices such as a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • Surgery
  • Left atrial appendage occlusion (devices that prevent strokes in patients with AFib by closing the left atrial appendage inside the heart)
  • Medical management of arrhythmias

What Is Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation is a procedure that uses sophisticated 3-D computerized mapping technology and X-ray imaging to help diagnose, treat and potentially cure abnormal heart rhythms. Memorial Hermann performs more than 1,000 cardiac ablations each year. There are multiple types of heart arrhythmias that can be treated with cardiac ablation:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Supraventricular tachycardia
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Premature ventricular contractions

Commonly Used EP Devices


A pacemaker is a small device (smaller than a matchbox) that is placed under the skin, near the collarbone, to help regulate a patient’s heartbeat. A wire extends from the pacemaker to the heart. If the pacemaker detects an abnormally slow heart rate (bradycardia) or the absence of a heartbeat, it emits electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to speed up or resume beating. A pacemaker is often implanted if medications to prevent arrhythmia or control the heart rate result in an excessively slow rate. A pacemaker may also be implanted after atrioventricular (AV) node ablation.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small, battery-powered device that is surgically placed in the chest to monitor and correct an abnormal heart rhythm. The device constantly monitors heart rate and delivers electrical shocks to correct any abnormal rhythm. ICDs are commonly used for patients with a heart rate that is too fast (ventricular tachycardia) or an irregular heart rate that affects blood supply to the rest of the body (ventricular fibrillation). Both of these heart irregularities can be life threatening.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is a treatment for heart failure that can improve symptoms and reduce complications. CRT involves implanting a device (biventricular pacemaker) into the chest to restore a normal heart rhythm. The device sends signals to the ventricles so that they work efficiently to pump blood to the rest of the body. Patients with moderate to severe heart failure, a weakened heart, or malfunctioning ventricles can benefit from CRT.

Benefits of Electrophysiology

Procedures performed by electrophysiologists prolong lifespan and improve the quality of life of patients with abnormal heart rhythms.

When Do You Need a Cardiac Electrophysiologist?

If your doctor has detected an abnormal heart rhythm, a cardiac electrophysiologist may be the best option to study and manage your condition.

Cardiac electrophysiologists are specialized physicians who are trained to manage the heart’s electrical timing. They focus on diagnosing and treating conditions caused by arrhythmias.

If you feel any of the following symptoms associated with irregular heartbeat, contact your physician.

  • Heart fluttering/palpitations
  • Abnormal pulse
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness

Find a Cardiac Electrophysiologist Near You

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