Guide To Cardioversion

Cardioversion is the name for a medical procedure done to restore a normal heartbeat. It usually involves shocking the heart with electricity by placing electrodes on the patient's chest. However, some patients may use medications for this procedure instead. Cardioversion tends to be scheduled and performed in a hospital. It generally does not involve the need for overnight observation. Thus, patients can leave the same day. Most patients find that cardioversion successfully restores their heart to its normal rhythm. 

Cardioversion is a common treatment for arrhythmias. Specifically, it is a treatment for fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat. It will also act as a treatment for tachycardia, which comprises a range of abnormally fast heartbeats. Patients may need to take anticoagulants for blood clots before undergoing this procedure. It is also worth noting that patients will receive intravenous medication for cardioversion. Patients need to understand this procedure fully before they undergo one.

Chemical Versus Electrical Cardioversion

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Chemical and electrical cardioversion are two different procedures. However, they have the same end goal of restoring the heart's rhythm. Chemical cardioversion refers to the use of medication to control the heart's rhythm. Electrical cardioversion occurs when electric shocks are used to return the heart to its normal rhythm. Chemical cardioversion might treat several different arrhythmias, but the most common one is atrial fibrillation. This occurs when the atria quiver instead of beating fully. The condition increases an individual's risk of a stroke. Doctors may recommend cardioversion for individuals who have only had one episode. 

Chemical cardioversion does not require sedation, and it is a less traumatic procedure than the alternative. Many doctors start with chemical cardioversion and move to the electrical form if it does not work. Having chemical cardioversion first increases the likelihood of electric shock working. The risks of chemical cardioversion tend to be lower. However, it also tends to take longer to see results. It also may not be as effective as electrical cardioversion.

Continue reading to reveal the reasons that this procedure is performed now.

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Katherine MacAulay
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