Electrical Cardioversion

Electrical cardioversion is a procedure in which an electrical current is used to reset the heart's rhythm back to its regular rhythm (normal sinus rhythm). The low-voltage electric current enters the body through patches applied to the chest wall.

  • Why do I need an electrical cardioversion?

    Prof Ruparelia may recommend an electrical cardioversion if you heart rhythm is persistently abnormal and associated with intrusive symptoms and / or impairment of heart function.

  • How do I prepare for the procedure?

    You will be started (or be well established) on formal anticoagulation (blood thinners) for a minimum of 4 weeks prior to your planned procedure. It is imperative that you DO NOT MISS a dose prior to the procedure and continue this afterwards.

    Do not eat or drink for a minimum of 6 hours prior to your planned procedure time. There is nothing else specific that you are required to do.

  • What are the risks?

    Electrical cardioversion is generally very safe. Risks are approximately 0.1% and include a small risk of stroke or skin irritation at the site of the pads.

    There is also a small risk of failure (i.e. the electrical cardioversion does not restore the heart rhythm back to a regular rhythm). The overall acute success rate is 90%.

  • How is it performed?

    Prof Ruparelia shall explain the procedure in detail in clinic prior to your procedure date.

    On the day of the procedure please attend at the time requested.

    Prof Ruparelia shall again explain the procedure, the intended benefits and the risks and ask you to sign a consent form.

    You shall then be admitted by one of the team and a small cannula will be inserted into the vein in your arm.

    The procedure will be performed under sedation of a general anaesthetic. Once you are adequately sedated, the electrical therapy will be delivered to the chest via pads attached to your chest wall. The procedure will be attempted a maximum of three times (if unsuccessful at the initial attempt).

    You will then be transferred into a recovery area

  • Recovery and post-procedure care

    It generally takes an hour or two following the procedure to recover from the sedation / anaesthesia.

    Prof Ruparelia shall explain the outcome and also formulate an ongoing management plan and any planned follow up including any medication changes.

    You should be able to go home after 2 hours of your procedure. You should not drive that day and so you should have some arrangements in place to ensure that you can travel home from hospital.

    There are no limitations to any other activity following the procedure.

Professor Neil Ruparelia 2024