Cardioversion is procedure for restoring the hearts rhythm. During electrical cardioversion electric current is used to reset the heart's rhythm. The current is delivered to the body uisng patches applied to the chest wall.
Electrical cardioversion is highly effective in treating recent-onset atrial fibrillation, restoring a normal rhythm in 86%. The success rate can be further enhanced to 94% by initiating treatment with antiarrhythmic medications prior to cardioversion.
Cardioversion is also more likely to be successful if:
- The patient is young.
- Done for the first episode of atrial fibrillation.
- Atrial fibrillation has been present for less than a year.
Cardioversion is less likely to succeed if:
- Atrial fibrillation has been present for more than a year.
- The patient has enlarged cardiac chambers.
- If the patient has congestive heart failure or an underlying cardiomyopathy.
- Significant valve problems are present.
- The patient has had recurrent episodes of atrial fibrillation.
Abraham Salacata, MD, FACC