Electrical cardioversion is a treatment for an abnormal heartbeat. For example, it may be used to treat atrial fibrillation. In cardioversion, a brief electric shock is given to the heart to reset its rhythm. The shock comes through patches put on the outside of your chest. Cardioversion most often restores the heartbeat to normal.
After the procedure, you may have redness where the patches were. (This may look like a sunburn.) Do not drive until the day after a cardioversion. You can eat and drink when you feel ready to. Your doctor may have you take medicines daily to help the heart beat in a normal way and to prevent blood clots. Your doctor may give you medicine before and after cardioversion. This is to help keep your heart in a normal rhythm after the procedure.
Instead of electric cardioversion, your doctor may try to change your heartbeat to a normal rhythm by giving you medicine. This is most often done in a clinic or hospital.
You may have had a sedative to help you relax. You may be unsteady after having sedation. It can take a few hours for the medicine's effects to wear off. Common side effects of sedation include nausea, vomiting, and feeling sleepy or tired.
The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.
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.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: March 14, 2017
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & David Messenger, MD & John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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