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What Does This Procedure Look For/Show

  • This procedure is used to restore the heart back to a normal rhythm if a patient is having a persistent heart rhythm disorder such as atrial fibrillation or flutter.
  • During the procedure, two large pads which stick to the skin on the surface of the chest are placed. Once the patient is sedated and comfortable an electric current (“shock”) is passed through the pads that converts the heart back to a normal electrical rhythm.
  • The procedure is usually highly successful at restoring normal heart rhythm (sinus rhythm.)

How Long Does This Procedure Take

  • A cardioversion typically takes 30-45 minutes to complete.
  • Patients are typically on blood thinners prior to this procedure. If the patient hasn’t been on a blood thinner long enough prior to the procedure, occasionally a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) may be required before the cardioversion is performed. This can add an additional 60 minutes to the total procedure time.

What Preparation is Required Prior To This Procedure

  • You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight on the evening prior to the procedure.
  • You may take all of your normal medications prior to the procedure, unless directed otherwise by your cardiologist or the team performing the procedure.
  • You will be asked to remove your shirt and/or bra prior to this procedure and change into a gown.
  • We recommend urinating just prior to this procedure so that you are comfortable during the procedure.

Who Performs/Interprets This Procedure

This procedure is performed by a Cardiologist with training and certification specific to this procedure.


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