Ep Defined | Getting Started | Working in the EP Lab
Right Atrium | Right Ventricle | Left Atrium | Left Ventricule | Cardiac Conduction | Cardiac Cell Properties | Action Potential | Sympathetic or Not | Med Page
Electrograms Defined | Recording Modes | Electrode Spacing | Filters | EGM Interpretation | Arrhythmia Analysis
The Physical Lab | Tools of the Trade
Setting Up | Catheter Placement | Baseline Measurement | SNRT | Conduction Study | Arrhythmia Induction | Pacing Protocols | Ablation | Tilt Table | Secrets to Success
Bradycardia | Atrial Tach | Atrial Flutter | Atrial Fibrillation | AVNRT | AVRT | Ventricular Tachycardia
Surface ECG's | Intracardiac Questions | Med Challenge | Advanced

Introduction to EP - Getting Started

Do you have what it takes to be an EP Geek?

          Now that you have an overview of what cardiac electrophysiology is about, it is time to get started and determine if you have what it takes to become an EP Geek. For those of you who are wondering what an EP Geek is, these are the quintessential masters of electrophysiology who truly thrive in this field. Do not take this term as derogatory. It is uttered with the highest compliments intended. It takes dedication and hard work to succeed in the EP Lab and not everyone is cut out for the job.  This section is designed for those who are wondering if they have what it takes to succeed in this challenging environment.

          Nobody can be certain that any specific person will do well in the EP lab. There are simply too many factors that can influence this outcome. There are, however, certain qualities that are common to most of the people who do well in this work environment. One characteristic that seems to indicate a good potential candidate is their ability and/or desire to solve puzzles. Determining the nature, cause and origin of abnormal cardiac rhythms often requires the ability to look at different pieces of information and derive from them a possible answer.

          Another trait that seems to be found in many of those who do well in the EP lab is the ability to process abstract concepts. Learning the language of EP can often require the practitioner to think outside the box. The ability to look at something in a unique and completely different way will carry you far on your journey. Here is an example that combines abstract thought with puzzle solving.

You find yourself in a square room. Each wall has a southern exposure. A bear passes by a window. What color is the bear?

          If you were able to quickly deduce that the bear must be white because the only place in the world where a room can have four southern exposures is the North Pole and thus the bear must be a polar bear, then you probably have both puzzle solving skills and the ability to handle abstract concepts. While these skills are not necessary to succeed in the EP lab, they are definitely helpful skills to have.

          Another type of person who does well in the lab is the hands on learner. When I am teaching EP, I will watch the students in class closely for signs that they are one of the “hands on” group. When I see someone who falls into this category, I make sure that they get the opportunity to sit down at whatever piece of equipment is being demonstrated. I have them watch me perform the steps pertinent to the lesson being taught. I then have them do it once while I watch. After that, I stand back and give them time to process the lesson. This type of person will explore the various tools presented to them and will let me know what questions they have. If it sounds like I am describing how you learn new concepts, then you will probably succeed in the EP arena.

          Having any, or all of these abilities is not a prerequisite to working in an EP lab. These are simply characteristics common to many of the people that I have worked with over the years who have done very well in this field. If you have one of more of these traits, then you will probably enjoy working in EP. These abilities however, are no substitute for a strong work ethic. In EP, the success you achieve will be directly proportional to the effort you put into learning it. The lack of formal education programs means that you are going to need to actively seek out information on EP in order to advance your knowledge.

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