What is Cardioversion?
Cardioversion is a treatment usually given for a condition called atrial fibrillation which is a relatively common heart condition.
Briefly, the heart is made up of four chambers. The top two chambers are called the atria and the bottom two chambers are called the ventricles. Atrial fibrillation is where the top two chambers beat quickly and erratically, giving rise to an irregular pulse and feelings of breathlessness and fatigue.
Although the symptoms of atrial fibrillation are often felt, some patients with this condition have no symptoms at all and the condition is only diagnosed at a routine hospital visit. Although atrial fibrillation is not in its self life threatening, there is an increased chance of having a stroke. Your doctor may therefore recommend medication or a cardioversion in order to restore the normal rhythm (known as sinus rhythm).
There are two types of cardioversion; External Cardioversion and Internal Cardioversion. Both are elective non-emergency type treatments which work in a similar way by delivering an electrical jolt to the heart in order to restore the normal sinus rhythm.
External Cardioversion involves an electrical shock being delivered through paddles, or stick-on pads applied to the surface of the upper chest. Internal Cardioversion involves an electrical shock being delivered through a small catheter placed inside the heart.
For more information about Internal Cardioversion click here