Cardioversion
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
Answers

What is Cardioversion?

Related Media: Treating Atrial Fibrillation

If the heart is not beating regularly, it may prevent the normal circulation of blood through the body. This may deprive various organs, including the brain and heart, of oxygen. Without oxygen, the organs cannot properly function and will eventually die.

Nonemergency cardioversion may be used to treat the following conditions:

  • Atrial fibrillation —very rapid, irregular twitching in the atrium, when the ventricular heart rate is not too fast
  • Atrial flutter —rapid but regular contractions in the atrium, when the ventricular heart rate is not too fast

Emergency cardioversion may be used to treat the following types of irregular heartbeats, which can lead to death if they are not immediately converted to a more normal rhythm:

  • Atrial tachycardia —rapid beating of the...

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have cardioversion, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Inability to stop the abnormal rhythm
  • Abnormal rhythm is resumed after a normal rhythm was established
  • Development of a more dangerous dysrhythmia
  • Damage to the heart muscle
  • Blood clots introduced into your circulation, leading to such complications as stroke or damage to your organs
  • Burning or irritation to the skin of the chest where the paddles or electrodes are applied

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Blisters, redness, or open sores on your chest
  • Confusion, lightheadedness, or dizziness
  • Sensation of your heart...
 
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