If you have been diagnosed with an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia) such as atrial fibrillation, your doctor may recommend cardioversion as a possible treatment option. During a cardioversion procedure, electrical impulses are delivered to your heart to restore normal heart rhythm.
The need for follow-up treatment is determined on a case-by-case basis. In the best case, you may not need any further treatment after undergoing cardioversion therapy. Some people require several cardioversion procedures as part of their overall treatment. Cardioversion also may be the first step in managing your arrhythmia long-term with medication or other therapies.
Cardioversion should not be confused with defibrillation, which sends intense electrical impulses to a stopped or erratically beating heart. Defibrillation is used to treat severe, life-threatening arrhythmias. Cardioversion, on the other hand, is one of several available therapies for mild heartbeat irregularities.
At Dignity Health, we offer advanced diagnostic procedures and cardiac treatments, including cardioversion, in the Bay Area. Find a Doctor today and take control of your heart health.
What to Expect from Cardioversion at Dignity Health
Your cardioversion treatment will take place in one of our Bay Area hospitals. Sticky pads will be placed on your chest and back, and an intravenous (IV) line will be started to deliver anesthesia drugs. Once you are asleep, several low-energy bursts of electricity will be delivered to your heart. After your heart rhythm has been corrected, you will be taken to the recovery area.
Before the procedure, your Dignity Health doctor will discuss with you the risks, benefits, and goals of treatment, and order several tests to ensure that you are a good candidate for cardioversion. One such test is transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). It is used to detect blood clots in your heart. People with arrhythmias are more likely to develop blood clots. These clots can break loose during cardioversion, leading to a stroke, pulmonary embolism, or other complications.
Your Recovery from Cardioversion
Because cardioversion is typically an outpatient procedure, you will likely go home a few hours after treatment. However, if you experience complications, or have other medical conditions, your doctor may decide to monitor your progress in the hospital overnight.
You may experience some soreness in your chest as a side effect of cardioversion. Your doctor may use cardioversion along with other therapies, such as medications, to continue treating your arrhythmia.
The doctors, nurses and staff at Dignity Health are committed to treating every patient with respect, dignity, and compassion. Learn more about our services in the Bay Area.
Dignity Health doctors provide expert care for many heart conditions in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.