What Is A Cardioversion?

  • A cardioversion is a procedure that your cardiologist may request you to undergo in attempt to electrically shock your heart back into its normal rhythm.
  • The most common type of arrhythmia that this procedure is used for is atrial fibrillation. Your cardiologist will discuss your arrhythmia in more depth at your consultation prior to admission.


How Is A Cardioversion Performed?

  • You will be admitted to John Flynn Hospital for a day procedure. A general anesthetic will be used and your cardiologist will perform the procedure generally in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory.
  • Nurses will prepare you and insert a cannula for the anesthetic to be administered. Once you’re sedated, your cardiologist will apply defibrillation pads to your chest. An electric shock will be delivered through these pads in attempt to put your heart back into its normal rhythm.
  • You are generally discharged the same day.


What To Expect

  • You wont feel any pain during the procedure and will slowly wake from the general anesthetic in recovery where nurses will be monitoring you.
  • It is common to feel some slight chest discomfort after the procedure or a sore chest in the region where the pads were applied like sunburn.
  • Once awake, nurses will be with you and you will be discharged shortly after.



  • Your cardiologist will visit you once you are awake to briefly discuss the procedure. An appointment will be made for you for a review as an outpatient with your cardiologist for a later date.



  • Stroke is the most common complication of a cardioversion. Your cardiologist will have weighed up the chance of a stroke and will only continue with the test if he believes it is safe to do so. He may request a TOE prior to the cardioversion to ensure there is not a blood clot present, although this is not always necessary. Your cardiologist will discuss anything that may be required of you at your appointment prior to the procedure.
  • There are always risks involved with general anesthetic, however, the results outweigh any risks involved with this procedure.