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Cardioversion is performed when the heart is beating ineffectively – either too fast or irregularly – in patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. It’s usually scheduled in advance but is sometimes also done in emergency situations. It can be done using an electric shock or with drugs.

How does it work?

Cardioversion is usually done with electric shocks, administered through electrodes attached to the chest, while the patient is sedated. Electric cardioversion takes less time than cardioversion done solely with medications, and a Deborah Specialty Physician can instantly see if the procedure has restored normal cardiac rhythm.

Am I a good candidate for treatment?

Cardioversion is usually used to treat people who have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter – conditions which occur when the electrical signals that normally make the heart beat at a regular rate don’t travel properly through the upper chambers of the heart.

What can I expect after treatment?

For most people, cardioversion can quickly restore a regular heart rhythm. Repeat procedures may be needed to maintain a normal heartbeat.

A Deborah Specialty Physician may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Reduced caffeine or alcohol intake
  • Low sodium diet
  • Increased physical activity
  • Smoking cessation
  • Eating heart-healthy foods
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing stress and anger