If your Cardiologist finds that your heart has a persistent abnormal rhythm (typically atrial fibrillation or flutter) causing your symptoms he may recommend a cardioversion procedure. This involves giving a small, controlled electric shock which is aimed at restoring a normal heart rhythm. It is a very safe and usually very effective treatment. Prior to this procedure and for a minimum of a few weeks after you will need to take an anticoagulant – if Warfarin is used your blood will need to be monitored to ensure that the levels in your blood are at therapeutic.
Your Cardiologist will discuss this procedure in detail with you and will perform the procedure personally. Cardioversion is performed as a day case procedure as it requires a brief general anaesthetic. You will be admitted during the morning to a local hospital and if needed your Warfarin blood level checked either that day on the previous day. You will be discharged home once you have recovered from the anaesthetic, typically after a few hours.
Within 24 hours of your cardioversion, your Cardiologist will write to your General Practitioner with a detailed report of the procedure and its results. We will contact you on the day after your cardioversion to see how you are feeling and to arrange a follow-up appointment with your Consultant, usually 4 weeks after the procedure to review your progress and your medications.