What is Internal Cardioversion?
Internal Cardioversion is the delivery of a shock from inside the heart rather than from the outside of the heart. It differs from External Cardioversion in several important aspects. The shock is delivered via one or more catheters placed inside the heart which necessitates a minor operation to place the catheter in the heart. This procedure is usually conducted in a semi-sterile hospital environment such as a Catheter Lab or a sterile environment such as an Operating Theatre.
The catheter is inserted in to a vein most commonly in the leg, but might also be placed in the arm or neck, and pushed in to the correct position by the doctor who will use fluoroscopy (moving x-rays) to see wherebouts the catheter lies in the heart. Once the doctor is satisfied the catheter(s) are in the correct place then he will apply sedation so that you are asleep when the shock is delivered.
The energy shock is much smaller with Internal Cardioversion when compared with External Cardioversion, typically less than 30Joules rather than 200Joules. Although it is common for only one shock to be delivered with Internal Cardioversion there are occasions when more than one shock is required. Once the procedure is completed, the catheter is removed and you will wake from the sedative.
The whole procedure typically takes from 15 to 45 minutes
For information about why you would use Internal Cardioversion click here