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Electrical Cardioversion

Electrical cardioversion is one of the most common treatments for patients with cardiac rhythm disorders or arrhythmias.  An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that can be too fast, too slow, skip beats or have extra beats.

Causes of arrhythmia can range from a problem with the heart’s pacemaker to obstruction of an electrical pathway in the heart.

Risk factors associated with arrhythmias include:

  • Heart disease
  • Stress
  • Drug abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Injury

During electrical cardioversion, a physician sends an electrical current through the heart to correct an irregular beat.  During the procedure, a tranquilizer and general anesthetic are used to relax the patient’s muscles and make the patient fall asleep.  A physician will then place metal paddles on the patient’s chest and back and run an electrical current through the chest for a fraction of a second to return the heart to a normal beat pattern.

What to expect during your procedure

  • A tranquilizer and general anesthetic are used to relax the patient’s muscles and make the patient fall asleep.
  • A physician will place metal paddles on the patient’s chest and back and run an electrical current through the chest for a fraction of a second to return the heart to a normal beat pattern.

What to expect after your procedure

  • You will be kept in an area where your heart rate, pulse and blood pressure will be closely monitored.
  • Skin integrity at countershock delivery site will be assessed.
  • Pain is minimal and recovery times are rapid.

Returning home
If you have any questions about your care after you return home, call your physician’s office.

This procedure is offered at these facilities:

To find a physician visit our Find a Doc or call (502) 629-1234 for a physician referral.

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