Electrical Cardioversion

Electrical cardioversion is a procedure that uses an electric current to stop the heart momentarily. This helps the heart have a normal rhythm when it resumes beating. Usually a person is given a sedative before the procedure. Then patches are placed on the person’s chest. The patches send an electrical current to the…

Electrical Cardioversion

Electrical cardioversion is a procedure that uses an electric current to stop the heart momentarily. This helps the heart have a normal rhythm when it resumes beating.

Usually a person is given a sedative before the procedure. Then patches are placed on the person's chest. The patches send an electrical current to the heart. An external defibrillator, which has paddles, might be used in some situations. Doctors are prepared to help maintain a person's circulation during the procedure with medicines and other methods.

Cardioversion may be used to help the heart return to a normal rhythm after medicines have failed to do so. The procedure also may be done in emergency situations. For example, it may be done to correct a fast heart rhythm that is causing low blood pressure, chest pain, or heart failure.

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Electrical Cardioversion

For electrical cardioversion, your doctor first gives you a medicine that relaxes you and controls pain. Then your doctor places patches either on your chest or on your chest and back, depending on your doctor’s preference. The patches send an electric current to your heart. This resets your heart rhythm.

Electrical Cardioversion

Electrical cardioversion with patches on chest

For electrical cardioversion, your doctor first gives you a medicine that relaxes you and controls pain. Then your doctor places patches either on your chest or on your chest and back, depending on your doctor's preference. The patches send an electric current to your heart. This resets your heart rhythm.

Current as ofApril 9, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.