What is it?

Electrophysiological testing helps your physician to detect heart rhythm disturbances and investigate their cause. With this testing, your physician can try to detect rhythm disturbances using electrical impulses and/or medication.

What is the process?


You will be admitted to the Cardiology Day Hospital. You will need to be fasting for your admission. This means only clear liquids (e.g. only water, tea, and coffee) for a minimum of two hours beforehand. You may eat a light meal and consume dairy products no later than of six hours beforehand, and a normal meal no later than eight hours before admission. Medication may be taken as agreed with the physician.

Sometimes, there will also be a blood draw. You will be given a surgical gown to wear. Shortly before the procedure, you can be provided with a tablet to help you relax. The nurse places an IV line in your arm to administer medication, should that be necessary.


The procedure will be performed in the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory. You will be placed on the treatment table. Ten adhesive electrodes are placed to monitor your heart rhythm. An area of skin measuring 5 by 5 cm is shaved and disinfected, and adhesive sterile sheets are placed around it. Local anaesthesia (general anaesthesia may be given if requested) is administered and then a vein (or possible an artery) is poked, giving access to electrical catheters, which are led up into the heart. The X-ray tube above the chest will show on the screen where the catheters are. Electrical impulses can jolt the heart rhythm and can trigger rhythm disturbances. If necessary, IV medicine can be administered that will make the heart beat faster.

The procedure is usually completed in an hour, after which the catheters will be removed. A compression bandage will be placed on the groin. You will need to remain in bed with the compression bandage on for 8 to 24 hours. This determines the duration of your hospitalisation.


After the procedure, you will rest for a few hours in order to prevent bleeding from the inguinal puncture site. For this reason, an overnight stay may be necessary.

For the first few days, avoid physical exertion and heavy duty at work.

What are the risks?

The procedures has very few risks. The rhythm disturbances can not only be triggered, they can also be eliminated. There is no risk of internal bleeding. You may have bleeding at the site in the groin. This is best avoided by using a strong bandage and by lying flat.


The results can either be reassuring or will indicate what the appropriate treatment may be. Medication, for example, may be indicated. zijn. The rhythm disturbance could also be treated with an ablation, a procedure that will be performed after the electrophysiological testing. Sometimes, the electrophysiological testing may indicate the necessity toimplantatie van een pacemaker implant a pacemaker or an internal defibrillator.

Centres and specialist areas


Latest publication date: 17/01/2022
Supervising author: Dr Provenier Frank