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Cardioversion is a treatment that helps your heart return to a normal rhythm. It treats problems like atrial fibrillation.
It is also sometimes used in emergencies. It can correct a fast heartbeat that causes low blood pressure, chest pain, or heart failure.
Cardioversion can be done by using an electric current or medicines.
There are two types:
Your doctor may ask you to take medicines before the treatment. These help prevent blood clots.
The electrical procedure is done in a hospital. You will get medicine to help you relax and control the pain.
Your doctor will put patches on your chest or back. The patches send an electric current to your heart. This resets your heart rhythm.
The electrical part takes about 5 minutes. But you will probably be in the hospital for 1 to 2 hours. You will need to recover from the effects of the sedative medicine.
The chemical procedure is most often done in a hospital. In most cases, the medicine is put into your arm through a tube called an IV. But you may get medicines to take by mouth.
You may feel a quick sting or pinch when the IV starts. The procedure usually takes about 4 to 8 hours.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: August 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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