The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Some medication may need to be stopped before the procedure. Talk to the care team about any medicine you are taking.
For urgent cardioversion, there is no time for to prepare for the procedure.
A deep sedation medicine will be used. You will be unaware of the treatment.
Description of the Procedure
Electrodes or paddles will be applied to the chest. An electric charge will be delivered through these electrodes or paddles to the chest and heart. This can reset the electrical activity of the heart. The process may need to be repeated to reach the desired heart rhythm. The electric charge may be increased with each attempt.
Immediately After Procedure
You will be monitored closely in a recovery room until you are fully awake. You may be allowed to go home after the procedure. You may need to stay in the hospital if medicine will be needed to keep your heart in rhythm.
How Long Will It Take?
The procedure itself is usually less than 30 minutes.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Sedation prevents pain during the procedure. If you have an urgent cardioversion, you may be more aware during the procedure. You may feel a jolt that some people liken to a kick in the chest.
Average Hospital Stay
If you had nonemergency cardioversion, you may be sent home.
People who need emergency cardioversion may be admitted to the hospital.
Blood thinners and medicine to keep a healthy rhythm may be needed.
Call Your Doctor
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
Blisters, redness, or open sores on your chest
Confusion or lightheadedness
Sensation of your heart fluttering (palpitations)
Sensation of a skipped or missed heartbeat, or an irregular pulse
Cough, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
Severe nausea or vomiting
Chest pain or pain in your left arm or jaw
Pain in your abdomen, back, arms, or legs
Blood in your urine
Changes in vision or speech
Difficulty walking or using your limbs
Drooping facial muscles
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116136/Cardioversion-of-atrial-fibrillation. Accessed November 28, 2020.
Direct-current (DC) cardioversion-defibrillation. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/arrhythmias-and-conduction-disorders/direct-current-dc-cardioversion-defibrillation. Accessed November 28, 2020.
Overview of arrhythmias. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/arrhythmias-and-conduction-disorders/overview-of-arrhythmias. Accessed November 28, 2020.
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