Cardioversion. A cardioversion is a procedure performed by a cardiologist to make your heartbeat regular. An electric shock is used to stop the rapid or irregular heartbeat and return it to normal. The cardiologist, nurse, and an anesthesiologist will all be present during the procedure.
You will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before the procedure. Follow your physician’s specific instructions.
Be certain to arrange for a responsible adult to drive you home if you are going to be discharged on the same day as the cardioversion.
Check with your doctor regarding which medications you should take on the day of the cardioversion. If you need to take medications, use only a small sip of water to swallow them.
When you arrive at the hospital you will be asked to sign a consent form and to change into a hospital gown.
Report any allergies you have to the nurse who will also take your blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and a brief medical history.
During the Cardioversion
An IV line will be started in your hand or arm so that the anesthesiologist may administer anesthesia medication as well as other drugs during the procedure.
A cardiac monitoring device will be attached to your chest. This will give the cardiologist a continuous print-out of your heart rhythm.
During the procedure, a small clip-like device will be placed on your fingertip. This painlessly measures the oxygen level in your blood.
The anesthesiologist will inject anesthetic medication through the IV line which will make you sleepy and unaware of the procedure.
Special conductive pads placed on your chest are used during the procedure and removed immediately after use. You will not feel the cardioversion nor will you remember it.
After the Cardioversion
Upon initial wakening after the cardioversion you will probably note that you are being given oxygen. This is usual. You will be monitored until you are more fully awake, and your blood pressure and other vital signs will be checked at regular close intervals. You will then be transferred to your room and will continue to have your heart monitored. If you have any muscle soreness or redness on your chest, let the doctor or nurse know. This is not uncommon and can easily be treated. Check with your doctor about any changes in your medications. Most patients feel quite well after cardioversion, however, your judgment may be impaired. If you are discharged on the same day as the procedure, be certain not to drive, operate dangerous equipment or sign legal documents for the rest of the day. Notify the doctor immediately of any change in your condition and be certain to keep your follow-up appointment.