Cardioversion is a procedure to correct abnormal heart rhythm (heart beat too fast or uneven), a condition called arrhythmias. The procedure involves either an electrical shock given to the heart or specified medications to change an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal. Mostly it is an elective procedure to treat atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. Cardioversion may be also used in an emergency situation to correct an abnormal heart rhythm that leads to low blood pressure, chest pain, loss of consciousness, and difficulty in breathing.
Cardioversion is of two types:
Pharmacologic or chemical cardioversion – This uses medicines to bring back normal heart beats, can be done in hospital or at home depending upon medical condition.
Electrical or direct-current (DC) cardioversion – Performed in hospital, in this electric shocks are given to the heart to restore heartbeat. Electrical shocks at specific interval are given through electrodes by traversing myocardium. The electrical waves interrupt abnormal rhythm allowing the sinus node to restore normal heart beat.
Based upon the severity of symptoms and heart disease, your cardiologist decides which type of cardioversion should be appropriate for treatment.
When is cardioversion done?
Irregular heart beat usually has no symptoms and not all arrhythmias cases are threat to life leading to complications. It is necessary to get checked for arrhythmias, as this may indicate any underlying disease such as high BP, blocked arteries or heart valve damage. Even if you do not have any heart disease you are at risk of one with arrhythmias as symptom. So to prevent and also reduce cardiovascular disease risks, cardioversion is recommended by the doctors.
Recovery after Cardioversion
Recovery may take few hours after cardioversion procedure. You will be sleepy and drowsy through the day due to medicines. You will be advised light exercises and to maintain healthy lifestyle.
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