Cardioversion

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

Cardioversion is a procedure that can restore a normal rhythm if your heart is beating too fast or is too irregular.  Cardioversion can be done with medications or an electrical shock.  If the medications do not get your heart back to a regular rhythm, an electrical shock may need to be given to get your heart back to normal.  The electrical cardioversion stops the irregular or fast rhythm so that the normal electrical activity can take control of your heart rate or rhythm again.  

How to Prepare for a Cardioversion Procedure

Your doctor will instruct you to not eat or drink, usually after midnight, before your procedure.  You doctor will also instruct you what medications to stop or take before your procedure.  No other special preparation is required. Most of the time you will go home the same day as the procedure after a brief recovery period.  You can usually return to work after 24 hours.

Patients usually arrive several hours before the procedure so that laboratory tests, IV's, history, and medication review can be completed prior to your procedure. Our doctors discuss the risks, side effects, and complications with our patients before the procedure.  In some patients, the heart rhythm problem may reoccur and require another cardioversion. 

What to Expect During a Cardioversion Procedure

The procedure room is a cool temperature with lots of equipment.  You will be made comfortable prior to the procedure and hooked up to several monitoring systems with lots of sticky patches.  We use several monitoring systems to make sure you are safe during the procedure.

An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your procedure and will use medicine to make you very sleepy before we administer the small shock to your heart.  The actual procedure only takes a few seconds and you are returned to your room in about 30 minutes.  

Some people may require another procedure (a special type of echocardiogram) before the cardioversion to make sure there is no blood clot in the heart.  If needed, the echocardiogram procedure may take a total of 45 minutes.

Recovery after the Cardioversion Procedure

You will be awake and talking at the end of the procedure.  You will be kept in the hospital for an hour or so to make sure you are recovering from the anesthetic safely.  If you had a special anesthetic from the echocardiogram, you may not be able to eat or drink for 2 hours after the procedure.  Then you can resume your normal diet.

There usually isn't any pain or soreness after the procedure, but you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours.  After that, you may go back to your normal routine.  Your doctor will leave instructions for your medications after your procedure.

Why Choose Aurora for a Cardioversion Procedure?

Aurora Health Care has performed thousands of these cardioversion procedures.  Our physicians and staff have many years of experience caring for patients before, during and after the procedure. Aurora doctors are conveniently located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or heart specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.