is an electrical cardioversion?
cardioversion is a brief procedure where a controlled
electrical shock is delivered to the heart to covert or reset an abnormal heart
rhythm to a normal rhythm. Elective or “non-emergency” cardioversion
is most often performed to convert atrial
fibrillation or atrial flutter. These irregular
rhythm patterns start in the upper chambers, or atrium, of the heart.
is the procedure performed?
cardioversion is done in the Cardiac Services
Department of Cayuga Medical Center. It is scheduled for a minor procedure room
where you will be monitored and prepared to receive moderate sedation.
do I prepare?
physician will schedule the procedure and instruct you about which of your
medications you should take beforehand. Take those medications on your regular
schedule with a small amount of water. Otherwise you should not eat or drink
anything for at least 8 hours before the procedure. Your physician may arrange
for lab blood work to be drawn and processed prior to the cardioversion.
bring all of your medications with you to the appointment so we can verify your
current medication dosages and schedules.
will be unsafe for you to drive for the remainder of the day after receiving
sedation, so please arrange for someone to provide you with a ride home.
can I expect during the procedure?
you arrive at the Outpatient Services area of the hospital, you will be greeted
by a member of the cardiac services staff and escorted to the procedure room.
At that time a brief review of your medical history will be done, along with
baseline vital signs and any essential tests which need to be completed before
will be connected to a monitor that displays your heart beat, blood pressure,
and oxygen level. Your cardiac nurse will start an IV (intravenous) line
through which you will receive fluids and sedative medications for the
will also be connected to the cardioverter machine.
Two large patches will be applied to your chest to deliver the electrical shock
for the actual cardioversion attempt. Oxygen is
applied to your nose to breath during the administration of sedation. The
cardiologist is present in the room when everything is ready. She or he will
actually coordinate the sedation and deliver the synchronized, controlled
electrical shock to your chest wall for the cardioversion.
the cardioversion has been done, a 12 lead EKG will
be obtained to confirm return to normal sinus (regular) rhythm. You will be
monitored for a period of time to insure safe recovery from moderate sedation.
You may experience some minor skin discomfort or irritation from the patches
that were applied to your chest.
some situations the actual cardioversion may be
preceded by a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), a
special ultrasound wave study (sonogram) to evaluate the structures and
chambers of your heart. This is done to insure that your heart chambers do not
contain any problems which might complicate the safety of doing the cardioversion.
can I go home?
the cardioversion is complete we will monitor you for
a period of time while you sleep off the effects of the sedation medications.
When you are awake enough to control your swallowing, you may be allowed some
fluids to drink. Once you are able to meet the criteria for safe recovery from
sedation you will be discharged and may leave the medical center in the company
of an adult relative or friend, who will drive you safely home. The recovery
criteria include having a stable blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level;
being awake and alert enough to be aware of your surroundings; and being able
to sit up and stand without lightheadedness or dizziness.