Cardioversion is a procedure that can restore a fast or irregular heartbeat to a normal rhythm. It is often recommended to patients with atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder originating from the upper chambers of the heart (atria). In patients with atrial fibrillation the heart rhythm becomes irregular and rapid, and the heart is unable to effectively pump blood to the body. Symptoms include rapid heart beating, shortness of breath, or fatigue . The test is performed by one of our cardiologists in hospital and requires an admission for a day or sometimes overnight.
During the procedure an IV will be inserted into your arm and you will be given a sedative for relaxation. You won’t feel pain during the procedure. Paddles applied over gel pads or large self-adhesive electrodes will be placed on the front of your chest, and will deliver an electrical current (shock). The shock lasts less than a second, and briefly stops (resets) your heart rhythm. Your doctor will monitor to check to see if your heartbeat is regular. Some people need only 1 shock. Some need more to restore a regular heartbeat. In most cases, patients wake up quickly and don’t remember the shock. The procedure takes about 30 minutes. You will be discharged after a few hours, and informed regarding follow-up and medications. You cannot drive home and will need to have someone staying with you overnight.