A-Fib.com Mission Statement
Amazon review ad - Hope lies within these pages REVISED 225 pix wide by 96 res
 

ABOUT 'BEAT YOUR A-FIB'...


"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"



ABOUT A-FIB.COM...


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013


This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

Cardioversion for Atrial Fibrillation

CHEMICAL CARDIOVERSION

The goal of chemical cardioversion is to make your heart beat regularly (in normal sinus rhythm). It is usually done in a hospital. Some combination of meds (see Medicines) are administered intravenously, such as Cardizem, verapamil, ibutilide, or adenosine (a class V antiarrhythmic agent). Doctors monitor you closely for adverse side effects. Chemical cardioversion is often done in combination with Electrical Cardioversion described below.

Electrical Cardioversion

Electrical Cardioversion is a medical term for giving your heart a shock with a defibrillator to synchronize it, to make it beat regularly (in normal sinus rhythm). It is often used in combination with Chemical Cardioversion.

During Electrical Cardioversion you are anesthetized and are unconscious when you receive the shock. The shock causes signal producing areas of your heart to discharge all at once. This stops all electrical activity in your heart momentarily, hopefully allowing your normal heart rhythm to take over.

VIDEO short animation of electrical cardioversion eMedTV

VIDEO 1: short animation (:60) of electrical cardioversion from eMedTV

Electrical Cardioversion seems to have the best chance of success in recent onset A-Fib. If your A-Fib just started, it may be a momentary aberration that an Electrical Cardioversion may correct.

VIDEO 1: Short animation (:60) explaining electrical cardioversion when in Atrial Fibrillation; YouTube video posted by eMedTV  1

Low Risk Treatment

Electrical Cardioversion is considered low risk, but it does have a high risk of forming clots and causing stroke, 2 which is why it is important to be taking anticoagulants like warfarin (Coumadin) both before the treatment and in the three to four weeks following treatment. What doctors aim for is an INR (International Normalized Ratio) of warfarin in your blood that is between 2.0 and 3.0. (An Electrical cardioversion “stuns” your heart and your Left Arial Appendage where most A-Fib clots occur. Clots may form in the LAA while it is stunned and not beating.) You may have to have your blood tested weekly till your doctor determines you are in this range.

If your A-Fib is so irregular and rapid that it is life threatening, you may be rushed to an Emergency room and be given the anticoagulant Heparin intravenously before your electrical cardioversion.

VIDEO: Detailed animation of the electrical cardioversion procedure. Posted by  Nucleus Media

VIDEO 2: Four short animations; The third and fourth segments show the electrical cardioversion procedure. (2:30) Posted by Nucleus Media

VIDEO 2: Four short animations; The third and fourth segments show the electrical cardioversion procedure.(2:30) YouTube video posted by Nucleus Media 3

Electrical Cardioversion + Chemical Cardioversion

Electrical Cardioversion, often combined with Chemical Cardioversion, is considered a standard, routine, low risk treatment option, particularly for recent onset A-Fib patients. However, sometimes after electrical cardioversion, your A-Fib comes right back. “50 to 75 percent of patients eventually develop Atrial Fibrillation again.” 4 Electrical Cardioversion is a shock to the body and requires general anesthesia. It’s like a mini electrocution. (The Defibrillator paddles, for example, can leave burn marks on the chest.)

Are Repeated Electrical Conversions Dangerous?

People with A-Fib often ask, “How often can I be Electrical Cardioverted? Does it ever become counterproductive or dangerous?” Right now we just don’t know the answer to this question. (Former Senator and NBA basketball player Bill Bradley had three successful Electrical Cardioversions from 1996-1998 without any apparent ill effects. 5  The author has heard of an A-Fib patient who received an Electrical Cardioversion once a month for a year without any apparent problems.)

Don’t Be Frightened

Don’t let this type of video frighten you, or the emergency room scenes in TV shows. It may look and sound traumatic, but Electrical Cardioversion is in fact non-invasive and is one of the easiest and safest short term treatments available for A-Fib.

In a Personal Experiences story, Kris tells of accidentally being awake during an electrical cardioversion (see story #37 Personal Experiences). According to Kris, the shock is relatively mild compared to what you often see portrayed in medical dramas on TV.

VIDEO 3: Me Being Cardioverted by reddyp321

VIDEO 3: Me Being Cardioverted by reddyp321

VIDEO 3: To watch an actual Electrical Cardioversion see the “Me Being Cardioverted” posted by reddy321 on YouTube. 6 But be advised: the patient in this video is partially awake (this is not the norm). This video is a bit disturbing to watch (but not dangerous or painful for the patient).

♦♦♦

Last updated: Monday, March 25, 2013

Back to the Top


 

References    (↵ returns to text)
  1. VIDEO 1: Short animation explaining electrical cardioversion when in Atrial Fibrillation. YouTube video posted by eMedTV; Last accessed February 22, 2013; URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jkhQ5Tl2fs
  2. Haines, D. “Atrial Fibrillation: New Approaches in Management.” Un. of Virginia multi-media presentation, 1999, p.2. http://www.a-fib.com/HainesUnOfVirginiaAtrialFibrillation.htm
  3. VIDEO 2: Four short animations; The third and fourth segments show the electrical cardioversion procedure.(2:30) YouTube video posted by Nucleus Media; Last accessed February 22, 2013; URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC_i8zuclmQ
  4. Heeringa, Jan, et al. Cigarette Smoking and Risk of Atrial Fibrillation: The Rotterdam Study 01/20/2009; American Heart Journal. 2008;156(6):1163-1169.
  5. Gorman, Christine, “A Candidate’s Racing Heart,” TIME, Sunday, Dec. 12, 1999. http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,35831,99.html
  6. VIDEO 3: Me Being Cardioverted YouTube video; Last accessed February 22, 2013; URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nsN0vdXZuY&feature=fvw.

Search our site

Rate this site

a-fib.com Webutation

Support A-Fib.com

Use OUR link to shop

Amazon button with glow 100 pic 96 res

BOOKMARK THIS LINK!

Every purchase generates a small commission—at no extra cost to you.

Help keep A-Fib.com Ad-free!


 


 
A-Fib Alerts-BYA promo Red ALT Signup Button 200 pix wide by 96 res
View Steve S. Ryan, Ph.D.'s profile on LinkedIn  
 
website security

Home | Help Support A-Fib.com | Print Friendly | Tell Us What You think | Media Room | GuideStar Seal | HON certification | Disclosures | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy