Cardioversion is a method used by physicians to restore an abnormal heart rhythm to its normal rhythm using electrical shock or medication.
External electric cardioversion uses a device called a defibrillator and electrodes to deliver a shock to the heart. This momentarily stops the heart and allows the normal heart rhythm to return.
A device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is sometimes placed under the skin of the chest to detect irregular heart rhythms and shock the heart back to normal rhythms automatically.
About the Procedure
The cardioversion will take approximately one hour. You will receive a mild sedative through an intravenous (IV) line to help you relax. Electrocardiogram (EKG) wires are placed on your chest to record your heartbeat at all times. A very brief electric shock will be sent to your heart through pads on your chest and back. Your heartbeat will be monitored to make sure the normal rhythm has been restored.
Learn more about cardioversion at our Online Health Encyclopedia.