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Electrical cardioversion is a treatment for a heartbeat that isn't normal, such as atrial fibrillation. It uses a brief electric shock to reset your heart's rhythm.
Before the treatment, you will get medicine to make you sleepy. You should not feel any pain.
Your doctor will put patches on your chest. Or you might get them on both your chest and back. They send a brief electric current to your heart. In most cases, this restores the heart's normal rhythm right away.
Cardioversion itself takes about 5 minutes. But the whole procedure will likely take about 30 to 45 minutes. That includes time to recover.
Abnormal heart rhythms sometimes come back after the treatment. You may need to take medicines. These may help your heart keep its normal rhythm.
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.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: April 9, 2019
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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