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Irregular heartbeat can also be described as arrhythmia.

What happens during cardioversion?

Sometimes cardioversion is done using drugs to restore an irregular heartbeat. You will receive anti-arrhythmic drugs intravenously (through an IV) while your heartbeat is monitored. If a normal heartbeat is restored your consultant will prescribe the same medication for you to take regularly to control an arrhythmia.

Another option is electrical cardioversion. This method is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes just a few minutes. A nurse or technician will apply patches called electrodes to your chest. Once you are asleep, low energy electric shocks will be applied to your heart to restore your normal heartbeat. The shocks may also be used to pace your heartbeat if it is too slow. You won’t feel anything and your heart will continue to be monitored throughout the procedure.

Going home after cardioversion

Cardioversion is usually done as a day case meaning you will be able to go home the day of your procedure. You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home.

The area where the electrodes were applied to your chest may be slightly red or sore. This should ease within a few days. Where the intravenous line was attached you may experience bruising.

Your consultant may prescribe medication that thins your blood to prevent any blood clots (deep vein thrombosis).
Most people recover well from cardioversion. As with any procedure there could be complications:

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your consultant?

Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
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Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Meeting standards

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
Overall rating Good

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ


Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
Overall rating Good

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good

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