Electrophysiology Procedures are used to assess your heart's electrical system and evaluate for abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmia. With these procedures, catheters with attached wire electrodes are inserted through the blood vessels. These will measure the rhythm of your heartbeat.
With today's technology, the cardiologists are able to implant pacemakers for patients with slow rhythms and implantable defibrillators for patients at risk for fast dangerous rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. If one of these events occur, these devices can provide the patient time to reach their physician or the hospital to have the causal condition corrected.
Many patients have fast rhythms that are bothersome or that may be correcting and many are treated with catheter-based radio-frequency or microwaves to burn or ablate the tissue causing the arrhythmias and can be curative.
Atrial Fibrillation is often seen in the elderly population where these is more of a stroke risk. A lot of research has focused on managing this prevalent condition, including medication, pacemakers, microwave ablation and most recently Left Atrial Appendage Closure with a device called Watchman.
Watchman does not convert the atrial fibrillation to a normal rhythm, it addresses the stroke risk, lowering it significantly and allowing the patient to eventually take a baby aspirin daily. The patient would still take antiarrhythmic medications for the atrial fibrillation.