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Cardioversion

What is a Cardioversion procedure?

Cardioversion is a procedure done to convert an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia) to a normal rhythm. The technique is most often done by sending electrical shocks to the heart through electrodes placed on the patient's chest.

Cardioversion can correct a heartbeat that's too fast (tachycardia) or irregular (fibrillation). It is usually used to treat people who have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.

Occasionally, cardiologists may perform cardioversion using only medications to restore the heart's rhythm. For most people, cardioversion quickly restores a normal heart rhythm.

About the procedure: Electric cardioversion is usually done on an outpatient basis and the patient will be asleep under sedation. The patient should not eat or drink anything for 12 hours before the procedure. Ask your doctor beforehand whether you should take any of your regular medications before the procedure.

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