If your heart beats too fast or doesn't beat with a regular pattern, you may need electrical cardioversion. During this hospital procedure, your heart is shocked with electricity. It can help give your heart a normal beat. Cardioversion isn't the same as defibrillation. That's an emergency procedure that uses high-energy shocks. Cardioversion uses low-energy shocks.
To start, the doctor puts soft pads called "electrodes" on your skin. They go on your chest, and sometimes on your back. Your skin may need to be shaved so the pads will stick. You lie down, and you are given medicine that puts you to sleep.
Then, the doctor sends one or more electric shocks through the electrodes to your heart. The shocks interrupt your heart's own electrical signals, helping your heartbeat return to normal. You won't feel any pain when your heart is shocked.
The procedure usually lasts for a few minutes. When it is done, you are watched for a short time while you wake up. You may feel sleepy for a few hours. You may feel sore from the electrodes. Your doctor will tell you when you can go home. Most people go home the same day.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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