A Simple Explanation
This is a medical procedure to convert an abnormally fast heartbeat to one with a normal rhythm.
What is Cardioversion?
Cardioversion is used to treat patients with abnormal rhythms, otherwise called Arrhythmia and bring the rhythm down to normal levels. There are two types of cardioversion.
Electrical Cardioversion is similar to Defibrillation, instabilizing the heart rhythm using electricity. But in Cardioversion, lower levels of electricity are administered when compared to Defibrillation.
Who needs it?
The heartbeat is controlled by electrical signals that originate from the upper right heart chamber (Atrium). Sometimes, very fast and irregular electrical signals move through both of the upper chambers of the heart, making the heartbeat fast and irregular. This is called Atrial Fibrillation. Some people with Atrial Fibrillation won’t notice any symptoms. But some of them might feel:
Cardioversion helps in treating this and other types of abnormal heartbeats, including Atrial flutter, Atrial Tachycardia and Ventricular Tachycardia.
Cardioversion is also used in emergencies for patients suffering from sudden life threatening arrhythmias.
Risks of Cardioversion
This is a good option of cardioversion for patients newly diagnosed with fibrillation. Sometimes, some medications are required to stabilize the heart rate even after Electrical Cardioversion.
If the patient is in a stable condition, adenosine is administered as medications for this cardioversion, which may stabilize the heart. Then heart is allowed to resume normal function on its own without using electricity.
How is it performed?
The patient’s heart and the blood pressure are monitored and a fast-acting sedative is given. Then an electrical current is administered to the chest wall through the attached paddles or patches. This will stop the abnormal heartbeat and the heart resumes a normal rhythm.
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