- What Is It?
- vs. Defibrillation
What does synchronized electrical cardioversion mean?
Synchronized electrical cardioversion is a medical procedure in which an electric current is passed through a person’s chest to convert abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) to normal heart rhythm. The direct current (DC) shocks to the heart has long been used successfully to convert abnormal heart rhythms back to normal rhythms. The use of an electric current as a rescue method dates back to the eighteenth century when electricity was used to revive a hen from lifelessness. Dr. Beck was the first physician to use a DC to treat arrhythmia in a 14-year-old boy during cardiac surgery in 1947.
Cardioversion is typically used to terminate a life-threatening or unstable tachycardic arrhythmia (arrhythmias with an increased heart rate such as unstable ventricular and supraventricular rhythms). In synchronized electrical cardioversion, the electrical discharge from the cardioversion machine is synchronized with the electrical activity of the patient’s heart. During an arrhythmia, the heart does not pump enough blood to the body. Irregular heart rhythms if left untreated can lead to more serious conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.
Who needs synchronized electrical cardioversion?
Synchronized electrical cardioversion is done to restore normal heart rate and rhythm, so the heart can pump blood as it should. The procedure is required in cases when the heartbeat is too fast or irregular, which may cause the following symptoms:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Light-headedness or dizziness
- A pounding or fluttering in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort
- Extreme fatigue
The various types of arrhythmias that may be managed with synchronized electrical cardioversion are
How is synchronized electrical cardioversion done?
- Synchronized electrical cardioversion may be scheduled (elective procedure) or done as an emergency procedure.
- It is typically an outpatient procedure that means you can go home on the same day.
- In case of a scheduled or planned procedure, before the procedure, your doctor may
- Order some blood tests and imaging studies
- Ask about any allergies you may have
- Ask you about any long-term health conditions you may have
- Ask you about any medications you are on
- Explain the procedure in detail along with the risks involved
- Ask you to shave any hair on the chest
- Take your consent for the procedure
- Ask you not to eat or drink anything for at least eight hours before the procedure
- During the procedure
- You will be asked to wear a hospital gown.
- The doctor will attach an intravenous (IV) line and administer sedatives and painkillers.
- The doctor will place several electrodes (sticky patches) and adhesive cardioversion pads on your chest and sometimes on the back.
- The electrodes are connected to a cardioversion machine through wires.
- The cardioversion machine records the heart rhythm and delivers shocks to the heart to restore a normal heart rate and rhythm.
- Once you are sedated, the procedure usually takes a few minutes to complete.
- After the procedure, you will be monitored in the recovery room for any complications before you are allowed to go back home.
What is the difference between synchronized cardioversion and defibrillation?
Both synchronized cardioversion and defibrillation are performed to restore a normal heart rhythm. However, they differ in some respects:
- In synchronized cardioversion, the electric current is synchronized or timed with the electrical activity of the patient’s heart (the QRS complex in electrocardiography [ECG]). The synchronized shock is delivered at a precise moment to avoid causing or inducing a certain type of arrhythmia (ventricular fibrillation). The defibrillation procedure, on the other hand, delivers an unsynchronized electric current to the heart.
- Although synchronized cardioversion is often performed in stable patients, defibrillation is typically done in unresponsive patients in a cardiac arrest.
- Synchronized cardioversion delivers a low energy shock to the heart, whereas during defibrillation, a high-energy shock is delivered without the need to time the shock to the unstable rhythm.
Latest Heart News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is a Synchronized Electrical Cardioversion? Related Articles
Ablation Therapy for ArrhythmiasThis procedure is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms. Depending on the type of arrhythmia and the presence of other heart disease, a nonsurgical ablation or a surgical ablation, may be performed. During a catheter ablation, catheters are advanced to the heart via blood vessels in the groin, neck, and arm. The conduction system of the heart is mapped and any areas responsible for the arrhythmia are destroyed.
Alpha ThalassemiaAlpha thalassemia is a disorder in which the alpha globin protein is underproduced. There are two pairs of genes that carry the code for the alpha chains of hemoglobin. When one gene is impaired, that person is in a carrier state and suffers no medical problems. When four genes are impaired, the production of fetal and adult hemoglobin is prevented, resulting in hydrops fetalis and leading to death before birth.
Angina SymptomsAngina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning, squeezing, and aching. Coronary artery disease is the main cause of angina but there are other causes. Angina is diagnosed by taking the patient's medical history and performing tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood test, stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac CT scan, and heart catheterization. Treatment of angina usually includes lifestyle modification, medication, and sometimes, surgery. The risk of angina can be reduced by following a heart healthy lifestyle.
Aortic Valve Stenosis (Symptoms, Causes, Surgery)Aortic valve stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart. The causes of aortic stenosis are wear and tear of the valve in the elderly, congenital, or scarring or scarring of the aortic valve from rheumatic fever. Symptoms include angina, fainting, and shortness of breath. Treatment is dependant upon the severity of the condition.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm, which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the heart. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Atrial fibrillation treatment may include medication or procedures like cardioversion or ablation to normalize the heart rate.
A-Fib SlideshowAFib symptoms like heart racing, fluttering, and irregular heart beat may be caused by heart disease, obesity, alcohol use, thyroid disease, and other conditions. AFib medications may include blood thinners, drugs to control heart rate or convert the heart to a normal rhythm. AFib surgery is also a treatment possibility.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs
Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men.
Heart Disease SlideshowHeart disease prevention includes controlling risk factors like diet, exercise, and stress. Heart disease symptoms in women may differ from men. Use a heart disease risk calculator to determine your heart attack risk.
Am I Having a Heart Attack? Symptoms of Heart DiseaseHeart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and know the symptoms that may require an immediate trip to the hospital.
Living with Atrial FibrillationLearn how to live easier with atrial fibrillation. What is AFib? Find out the symptoms and causes of this heart condition. Explore tips that can help you manage an irregular heartbeat, including medication, diet, nutrition, exercise, and ways to reduce stress.
PalpitationsPalpitations are uncomfortable sensations of the heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly. Some types of palpitations are benign, while others are more serious. Palpitations are diagnosed by taking the patient history and by performing an EKG or heart monitoring along with blood tests. An electrophysiology study may also be performed. Treatment of palpitations may include lifestyle changes, medication, ablation, or implantation of a pacemaker. The prognosis if palpitations depends on the underlying cause.
Pericarditis (Symptoms, ECG, Types, Causes, Treatment)Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardial sac that surrounds the heart. The causes of pericarditis include injury from heart attack, heart surgery, trauma, viral or fungal infection, HIV, tumors, mixed connective tissue disease, metabolic disease, medication reactions, or unknown reasons. Treatment for pericarditis is generally medication, however, sometimes surgery is necessary.
What Is Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)?Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), also called transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), is a surgical procedure to artificially replace a narrowed heart valve called the aortic valve (which fails to open properly due to aortic valve stenosis). TAVR is a minimally invasive procedure that repairs the narrowed aortic valve without major surgery. The risks of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) may include bleeding, blood vessel complications, the valve slipping out of place or leaking, stroke, arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems), kidney disease, heart attack, infection, death, anesthesia complications.