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What are the goals of the procedure and what is the success rate?

Cardioversions are used to treat abnormal electrical signals in the heart. The goal of the procedure is to restore sinus (normal) rhythm and to improve symptoms.  

What are the risks?

The risks of the procedure include allergic reactions, a worse heart rhythm, burns, stroke, and heart failure.  

What happens during the procedure?

Cardioversions are done in the hospital. There will be a shock delivered through electrodes placed on your chest. You will be given IV medication for sedation to prevent pain during the shock. This shock resets your heart rhythm. If it is ineffective the first time, additional shocks may be necessary. It is important to note that a cardioversion is like a reset to your heart’s rhythm, it is not a permanent fix although the results can last a long time. 

What happens right after the procedure?

You will be monitored briefly after the cardioversion. You will typically be there for a few hours and sent home afterwards. Do NOT drive within 24 hours of cardioversion.  Someone needs to stay with you after you leave the hospital until the following day.  We recommend light activity for 24-48 hours after your cardioversion, then no restrictions.  No travel for 24-48 hours. 

How will I feel after the procedure?  What is my expected recovery course?

You may feel sleepy after your cardioversion. You can return to work and normal activity 24- 48 hours after the cardioversion.  

Note on Pre-Op and Post-Op instructions:  The most up-to-date pre- and post-operative instructions will be the ones provided to you during your pre-op visit & on your hospital DC instructions given to you when checking-out of the hospital.

Helpful Resources


Preoperative Instructions

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