Electrophysiology explained

Written by: Dr Anita Arya
Published: | Updated: 02/03/2023
Edited by: Sophie Kennedy

In this informative guide for patients, highly respected consultant cardiologist and electrophysiologist Dr Anita Arya shares her expert insight on the subspeciality of electrophysiology. The revered specialist sheds light on the applications of electrophysiology and how the field has evolved in recent years.



What is electrophysiology?


Electrophysiology is a subspecialty of cardiology that looks specifically at the electrical system of the heart. In some patients, disorders of this system can cause palpitations or rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias). There are many causes of arrhythmias, for example, an extra 'circuit' that you are born with or something that develops later in life.


Electrophysiology procedures involve the study of the electrics of the heart and rhythm disturbances. It involves the mapping and possible cauterisation of circuits with the aim of curing or improving patient symptoms.


An electrophysiologist is a cardiologist who has super specialised in heart rhythm problems. Electrophysiology has hugely changed over the last twenty years in terms of our understanding of different rhythm problems and how to treat them. We still use medication but many more rhythm disturbances can be treated by ablation. The technology to do this has also improved and has made these procedures quicker, safer and more effective.



What is electrophysiology used for?


Electrophysiology is the theory and practice of diagnosing heart rhythm disturbances and treating them. This might include electrical tests of the heart and treatment with lifestyle, drug therapy or a keyhole procedure called ablation.



What are some electrophysiology procedures?


There are a number of different electrophysiology procedures, some for simple rhythm disorders others for more complex problems. This can include testing the heart electrically to find out where the circuit or ‘irritable focus’ comes from. We then use heat or ice energy to cauterise the circuit.



What is the difference between a cardiologist and an electrophysiologist?


All electrophysiologists are cardiologists who have gone more in depth in our training, specifically into the electrics of the heart. Most electrophysiologists will also still diagnose and treat general cardiology conditions as there is an overlap.




If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr Arya, you can do so by visiting her Top Doctors profile.

By Dr Anita Arya

Dr Anita Arya is a Consultant Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist based in Wolverhampton.  She specialises in arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (AF) and supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) alongside device therapy for heart failure and sports cardiology. She sees patients with a number of different cardiac symptoms for example, breathlessness, chest pains and palpitations, as well as loss of sports performance. She practises at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, both privately and for the NHS (Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust). She also has an e-Consultation clinic.

She has over 15 years experience in cardiac electrophysiology and is an experienced practitioner in AF and SVT ablation, as well as simple and complex device therapy such as cardiac resynchronisation therapy defibrillators. 

Dr Arya, who is also involved in clinical governance and risk management, prides herself in her extensive management and interpersonal skills that come with running a large devices service at her NHS trust. 

She graduated in 1997 with an  MBBS and  B. Med.Sci(Hons.) from Newcastle University and was awarded an MD from St George’s University of London for her thesis entitled 'Device Management and the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation'. She also has an accreditation in EP/Devices from Heart Rhythm UK, the affiliated group of the British Cardiovascular Society dedicated to cardiac arrhythmia care and electrical device-based therapies.

Dr Arya did higher and specialised training would say has undertaken higher and specialist training at St George’s University of London and also undertaken  fellowships at the esteemed Freeman Road hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne and Asklepois etc under Prof. Karl Heinz Kuck. 

Dr Arya has recently completed a diploma in Sports Cardiology for which she was awarded distinction by St George’s University of London.  She works closely with other eminent Sports Cardiologists performing cardiac screening for charitable organisations such as Cardiac Risk in the Young (C-R-Y) and for amateur and professional sports clubs.

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