Electrophysiological Test (EPS) for Cardiac Arrhythmia

Patients with arrhythmia may be required to undergo an electrophysiologic study (EPS). This is to determine which part of the heart is causing the disturbance in rhythm. This helps the cardiologist to decide the best course of medication, procedure or a device that may improve the pace to return to normal.

Doctor checking the heart rateAs a part of the EP study, the cardiologist reproduces the abnormal rhythm by recording the electrical activity and electrical pathways in the heart. In some cases, the cardiologist may recommend ablation procedure, which can be performed during the testing process itself. This procedure makes use of electricity to neutralize cells in the heart muscle that appear to be the cause of the arrhythmia.

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Preparation for the EPS Testing

Before the test, the patient must consult with the doctor regarding any ongoing medication for another disease such as diabetes or hypertension, or any anti-inflammatory medication. In case the patient has an allergy to any numbing medicines such as lidocaine, or any heart medications, it must be informed to the doctor so that any necessary adjustments to the medication may be made.

The doctor will also usually perform a blood test in advance to ensure that the patient is not at a high risk for bleeding complications. He will also advise the patient to remain on an empty stomach at least 12 hours before the test. The doctor will determine after the test if the patient may need to stay overnight at the hospital. The patient should have a companion to drive him back home.

How the EP Study is Performed

Ablation surgeryThe EP study may take anywhere between two and three hours to complete. However, the duration may be extended if the doctor decides to perform ablation treatment during the test. The patient is required to wear a hospital gown and lie on the back while the procedure is in progress. An IV line is placed in the vein to facilitate administration of fluids or medication during the test. Sophisticated cameras and equipment are used during the procedure to monitor the heart. The electrophysiologist threads several catheters to the patient’s heart with the guidance of a fluoroscope. These catheters assess the conduction system of the heart.

The doctor will make use of a pacemaker to induce rhythm changes in the heart. It may result in the patient experiencing palpitations. Some patients may also feel shortness of breath in this condition. Due to the numbing medication, the patient is not likely to experience any pain during the procedure. Some patients find it uncomfortable to lie still on their back during the testing process, while some others may experience anxiety.

Risks and Complications of EP Testing

The awareness of the patient is critical for them to know considerable risks involved with electrophysiological testing. It is essential to understand those specific arrhythmic episodes can pose a threat to the patient’s life. The test may purposely require the patient to experience a few extra episodes of such abnormal rhythms. The patient should note that the doctor is in the best position to do the risk-benefit analysis. And if he recommends the test, it is only for the betterment of the patient.

If the doctor decides to perform an ablation procedure during the test, it may carry some added risk. Ablation involves causing a minor scarring of a minuscule portion of the heart muscle. Although any complications from this procedure are rare, they may still occur, resulting in new rhythm changes in the heart. In a very rare situation, the ablation instrument may cause a hole through the heart, requiring emergency surgery.

 

Physical Therapy as a Career

Physical therapy began as a way of treating polio before the invention of the polio vaccine. The profession has developed into a thriving area of health care that restores people to their past physical performance and minimizes disabilities.

Physical Therapy is a Satisfying Career

physical therapist assisting a patientOn April 17, 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported that physical therapy was number two in the National Opinion Research Center survey in job satisfaction. The clergy was the only occupation ahead of physical therapy in existence. It was also the only health care profession on the list.

Practitioners report high job satisfaction due to the closeness felt with their patients and the ability to see their patients’ progress to their greatest potential. Patients will frequently return month after physical therapy just to thank their physical therapist for the work that they had done. Some of those patients rolled in on wheelchairs and walked out on their own two feet.

What is Physical Therapy?

The Occupational Outlook Handbook describes some of the patients that are treated in PT as having disabling conditions such as low back pain, cerebral palsy, neurological and spinal injuries, and orthopedic injuries. Physical therapists restore function, reduce pain, and decrease the severity of disabilities for their patients.

The three primary positions in physical therapy are physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapist aides. Physical therapists act as supervisors to assistants and aids and distribute the workload.

Physical therapists assistants carry out many of the responsibilities that physical therapists also do, but with some limitations. Assistants don’t perform evaluations and reevaluations of patients. That is the primary job of physical therapists. After the physical therapist performs the evaluation of the patient, the case will usually be passed on to the physical therapist assistant.

Physical Therapy Education

Careers in physical therapy include physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapist aides. Varying degrees of education are required.

Physical therapists complete a bachelor’s degree in a major of their choice, with some prerequisites to enter into a doctorate program that lasts three years.

Physical therapist assistants complete a two-year associate’s degree. Some go on to become physical therapists.

Physical therapist aides need a high school diploma and volunteer or paid training at a PT facility. Competition for these positions is high.

Physical Therapy is in Demand

aqua therapyAll populations of people benefit from physical therapy. But the retiring baby boomers are the primary clients of the physical therapy profession. As this segment of the population grows, the need for physical therapists and assistants will grow.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the physical therapy profession is expected to grow faster than average. Twenty-seven percent growth is expected through 2016.

Physical therapists also work with professional and semi-professional athletes to prevent and recover from injuries. Some of the areas that physical therapists work in are pediatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, neurological injuries, and aqua therapy.

Choosing physical therapy as a career is a wise choice for both the population and the future practitioner. Professionals can expect job stability, high job satisfaction, and long-term growth of the profession.