What is Cardioversion? 

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

January 5, 2022 Heart Diseases 331 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Cardioversion?

A medical procedure performed for the restoration of the normal rhythm of the heart in people having arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeats) is known as cardioversion. Cardioversion can be performed by using some medications or by giving electric shocks to the heart by the placement of electrodes on the chest. Cardioversion helps in the restoration of the normal heart rhythms in most cases. In this article, we will be discussing cardioversion in detail –

  • What are the different types of Cardioversion procedures?
  • What is the purpose of Cardioversion?
  • What are the symptoms that indicate the need for Cardioversion?
  • What is the diagnostic procedure before Cardioversion?
  • How to prepare for Cardioversion?
  • What is the procedure for Cardioversion?
  • How to care after Cardioversion?
  • What are the risks of Cardioversion?
  • How to prevent Cardioversion?
  • What is the cost of Cardioversion in India?

What are the different types of Cardioversion procedures?

The cardioversion procedure can be performed in the following two ways:

  • Pharmacologic or chemical cardioversion:
    • The doctor will first use medicines to get the heart rhythm back to normal if there is no medical emergency.
    • The medication may be given intravenously (injected into the vein) or orally in the form of a pill.
    • The type of medication given depends on the type of heart rhythm disorder present and the health of the patient.
    • The different types of medicines that can be used for cardioversion include Amiodarone, Flecainide, Ibutilide, Dofetilide, and Propafenone.
  • Electrical cardioversion:
    • Medicines alone cannot normally correct an arrhythmia.
    • Electrical cardioversion is a procedure of giving shocks through the paddles to regulate the heartbeat.
    • The electric shocks given are usually mild.

What is the purpose of Cardioversion?

  • Cardioversion is performed in cases of irregular heart rhythms. 
  • The procedure is performed to get the heart rate and heart rhythm back to normal.
  • The procedure allows the heart to pump blood properly to the rest of the body.

What are the symptoms that indicate the need for Cardioversion?

Cardioversion may be required when the following symptoms are seen:

What is the diagnostic procedure before Cardioversion?

  • Physical examination: The doctor examines the overall physical health of the patient. The symptoms and medical history of the patient are noted.
  • Blood tests and urine tests: These tests help in checking for any medical disorders or infections that may be present. ( Know more about- What is Cholesterol Test? )
  • Chest x-ray: It helps the doctor to visualize and evaluate the heart and lungs of the patient.
  • Echocardiogram (echo): Sound waves are used to obtain pictures of the heart in motion. 
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): It helps in recording the electrical activity of the heart, and the diagnosis of various heart disorders. ( Know more about- What is Echocardiography? )
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram: The test helps to diagnose blood clots, if present, in the heart. If blood clots are present, the surgeon will delay the procedure by three or four weeks and the patient is prescribed blood-thinning medications during this time to reduce the risk of complications. 

How to prepare for Cardioversion?

  • Inform the doctor about any pre-existing illnesses that you may be having.
  • Inform the doctor about any medications, supplements, or herbs that you may be taking.
  • Inform the doctor if you are sensitive or allergic to any medications, anesthetic agents, tape, or iodine.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything eight hours before the procedure.
  • Stop smoking and limit the consumption of alcohol for at least two weeks before and after the procedure.
  • If you are taking any blood-thinning medications, medications for diabetes, or any other medications, talk to the doctor about how to take these medicines on the day of the cardioversion procedure. 
  • If you need to take any medications before the procedure, take them with small sips of water. 

What is the procedure for Cardioversion?

  • Intravenous medications are first administered, to help you fall asleep during the procedure. This prevents any pain to the patient during electric shocks.
  • Several electrodes (large patches) are placed on the chest.
  • These electrodes are connected to a cardioversion machine, called a defibrillator, by wires.
  • This machine helps to record the rhythm of the heart and delivers shocks to the heart in order to restore a normal heart rhythm.
  • This machine also helps in the correction of the heart rhythm if it beats too slowly after the cardioversion procedure. ( Know more about- What is Cardiac Catheterization? )
  • The procedure takes a couple of minutes to complete.

How to care after Cardioversion?

  • The patient normally goes home on the same day of the procedure.
  • The patient is kept in the recovery room for about an hour to closely monitor for any complications.
  • The patient needs to be accompanied by a family member or friend, to drive him/her home.
  • It is normal to feel drowsy for a few hours after the procedure due to the medications given during the procedure.
  • It is normal to have some soreness and redness in the chest region. This usually disappears on its own a few days after the procedure.
  • Corticosteroid cream is prescribed by the doctor. This cream is applied to the chest area to relieve the soreness over the chest.
  • Blood-thinning medications are prescribed by the doctor. These medications are usually recommended for a couple of weeks after the procedure to prevent the formation of blood clots.
  • A follow-up appointment with the doctor is recommended after a few weeks. The doctor will most likely order an electrocardiogram to check if the patient’s heartbeat is still regular.

What are the risks of Cardioversion?

The complications associated with a cardioversion procedure are:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches 
  • Chest discomfort
  • Low blood pressure
  • Allergic reactions to the medications used
  • Blood clot formation
  • Organ damage 
  • Stroke (a condition in which blood supply to the brain is interrupted)
  • Pain in the area where electrodes were placed
  • Bruising and burning sensation in the area of electrodes placement
  • Arrhythmia worsens after the procedure

How to prevent Cardioversion?

The cardioversion procedure can be prevented by keeping your heart in a healthy condition and preventing arrhythmias. This can be done by making the following lifestyle changes:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a well-balanced diet  ( Know more about- Diet Guide for Heart Patients )
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Limit the consumption of caffeine
  • Eat less salt in your diet 

What is the cost of Cardioversion in India?

The total cost of cardioversion in India can range from around INR 1,00,000 to INR 1,30,000, depending on the type of procedure done. However, many prominent hospital doctors in India specialize in cardioversion. But the cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, apart from the cost of cardioversion, there will be an additional cost of living in a hotel and the cost of local travel. After the procedure, the patient is kept for one day in the hospital and seven days in the hotel for recovery. So, the total cost of cardioversion in India comes from a total of INR 1,30,000 to INR 1,70,000. 

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding cardioversion through this article.

If you need more information about cardioversion, you can contact a Cardiologist.

We only aim to provide you with information through this article. We do not recommend any medication or treatment to anyone. Only a qualified doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

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