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How a Cardioversion Procedure Works

The electrical system of the heart creates signals that trigger the heart to pump. These electrical signals control the heart rate and rhythm. Normally, the heart beats in a regular rhythm and at an appropriate rate for the exertion level. In other cases, a problem may occur that makes the heart beat abnormally causing an arrhythmia. Things that can cause the heart to beat abnormally include heavy smoking, alcohol use, excess caffeine or other stimulants, stress, thyroid disease, and fever.

Many arrhythmias are minor, causing only occasional abnormal heartbeats and requiring no treatment. Other cases like atrial fibrillation can be life-threatening because they increase the risk of blood clots and strokes. Arrhythmias are of special concern in people who also have heart disease or heart failure. Some arrhythmias can be treated with medication. Others may require an electrical shock (cardioversion), surgery, or a pacemaker.

Cardioversion is a brief procedure where an electrical shock is delivered to the heart, converting an abnormal heart rhythm into a normal rhythm. Most elective (non-emergency) cardioversions are performed to treat atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, which are heart rhythm disturbances originating in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart.

To learn more about the procedure, call us at (888) 926-9540.