Programmed Electrical Cardioversion for Arrhythmias

This procedure is applied to patients with determined alterations in heart rhythm (arrhythmia) to recover a normal rhythm. In electrical cardioversion, one or various electric charges (“electric shocks”) are applied through two paddles placed on the chest on either side of the heart. This procedure is called external electrical cardioversion. Since the electric shocks are painful, cardioversion is done under a short, deep sedation period or general anaesthetic thus exposing the patient to a non-traumatic experience. Patients can normally return home a few hours after cardioversion once they have recovered from the anaesthetic and sedatives. Complications and risks: Irritation or sometimes a small burn may occur in the area where the paddles were placed on the skin. Other than that, electrical cardioversion is well tolerated in the majority of cases with an overall rate of complications lower than 5%.