What is it? If your physician discovers an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), they may use an electrical shock to reset it. To perform a cardioversion, your physician will place electrodes on your chest, which send electric shock straight to your heart. In most people, a cardioversion quickly restores a normal heart rhythm.
What happens during the procedure? Prior to the procedure you will be given an IV to deliver fluids and medication to sedate you. Your chest or back may be shaved to improve skin contact with the patches or paddles. Once you are asleep, the patches or paddles will be applied to the chest and/or back and an electrical signal will be delivered. Following the cardioversion you will be monitored to ensure a normal heart rhythm and vital signs.
Preparing for the Procedure:
Eat a normal meal the evening before, DO NOT eat or drink anything after 12 midnight before the procedure.
- Take all medications at your regularly scheduled time. If you are taking coumadin or warfarin, you will be given special instructions on when you should have your pre-procedure international normalized ratio (INR) blood sample drawn.
- Bring all of your medications in their original pharmacy containers with you to your appointment.
- Following your procedure you will not be able to drive home and should make arrangements to be driven by a friend or family member. Additionally, you will have driving restrictions for several days after the procedure.
- Your skin may sensitive at the paddle sites; you will be given instructions on how to care for these sensitive areas when leaving the hospital.