What is A Cardioversion?
A cardioversion is a medical procedure used to convert an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter) back to your heart’s normal rhythm (sinus rhythm). A cardioversion helps restore a normal heartbeat through a noninvasive procedure. You are first made comfortable using a small amount of sedation, and then an external defibrillator is used to pass a synchronized amount of energy through two pads (or paddles) across your chest. This carefully planned and delivered energy immediately stops your irregular heart rhythm. Most people can go home after the sedative wears off. Most patients need to take blood thinners and antiarrhythmic drugs to help maintain a normal rhythm. If the medications don’t work then Dr. Ahuja can discuss an ablation to help maintain a normal rhythm.
A cardioversion procedure requires sedation intravenously in a closely monitored hospital based setting. Two electrode pads are placed on the skin of the patient, one applied near the upper chest, the other placed on the back. A controlled electrical current is sent through the pads resulting in restoration of normal sinus rhythm.
Why choose A cardioversion over an ablation?
Although ablation is generally more effective long term than a cardioversion, physicians may recommend a cardioversion as first line treatment given the overall safety of a cardioversion. If your cardioversion doesn’t help control your atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, then ablation is a more effective option long term as an alternative procedure. Dr. Ahuja will discuss the risks and benefits of cardioversion versus ablation for your specific type of atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.
Once the procedure is completed, patients are monitored for about two hours before having the ability to go home. Due to the residual effects of anesthesia, patients are not recommended to drive, operative heavy machinery or make major medical or legal decisions for about 24 hours.