External Cardioversion

Summary

Cardioversion is a corrective procedure where an electrical shock is delivered to the heart to convert, or change an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal sinus rhythm.  Most cardioversions are performed to treat atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter which are non-life threatening abnormal rhythms in the top of the heart.

Each normal heartbeat starts in the area of the heart known as the sinus node which is located in the upper right chamber of the heart.   The sinus node sends organised electrical signals through the heart resulting in a perfectly timed, rhythmic heartbeat.  In patients with atrial fibrillation, this electrical signal is chaotic causing the atria to fibrillate.  This usually results in a fast and irregular heartbeat.  Some patients may have no symptoms which others may experience shortness of breath, light-headedness and fatigue.  Dependent on your symptoms, your consultant may recommend a cardioversion to return your heart to normal sinus rhythm.

  • Arranging your Treatment

    Before going ahead with this treatment, you will need to have an initial consultation with a specialist Consultant to go through your medical history and diagnosis. At this appointment, your consultant will confirm the exact treatment you require. If you would like to have an initial consultation, you can call us and we can help you find the consultant best for you. Alternatively, if you have already been diagnosed as needing a particular operation or treatment, our sales advisors can give you a guide price for this to be carried out at KIMS Hospital and book an appointment for you to meet a consultant. Call our sales advisors on 01622 237 727 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk.

  • Paying for your Treatment

    You can be treated at KIMS by using your private medical insurance or by paying for yourself. If you have private medical insurance, you will need to contact your insurer to ensure you are covered for the initial consultation prior to making an appointment and obtain an authorisation number. The insurance company will then need to be advised if you require further treatment. The insurance company usually settles bills on your behalf. If you are paying for your own treatment, you will need to pay for an initial consultation. This will be confirmed at the time of booking but is typically £150-£250. You will also need to pay for any associated diagnostic tests your consultant recommends (for example x-rays and blood tests). Following this consultation, if you don’t need any further treatment or if you decide paying for yourself isn’t the right option, there is no commitment to proceed further. If you require the operation or procedure to be carried out, you will receive a quote for your treatment. In most case this will be the fixed price package quoted on this website. If this quote is different for any reason, we will provide an explanation (see what’s included below). This quote is also subject to pre-assessment checks prior to your admission to hospital. Payment is required 7 days prior to admission.

An electrical cardioversion is a day case procedure performed under general anaesthetic or sedation. A synchronized electrical shock is delivered through the chest wall to the heart through special electrodes that are applied to the skin of the chest and back. The split second interruption of the abnormal heat allows the heart’s electrical system to regain control and restore a normal rhythm.

Normal sinus rhythm can be restored more than 90% of the time, however the atrial fibrillation or other abnormal rhythms may recur over time.

Adverse events

Because the upper chambers of the heart are fibrillating rather than squeezing in patient with atrial fibrillation, there is a risk that blood clots may form.  The process of retsoring a normal rhythm could dislodge a blood clot from the heart which may result in a stroke.  To help prevent blood clots and reduce the potential for stroke, the blood is thinned with medications called anticoagulants normally commenced by your Cardiologist.

Anticoagulation is usually continued after the cardioversion for a minimum of 4 weeks but more often longer. 

To find out more:

If you would like to come to KIMS, contact our sales advisors on 01622 237 727 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk.

Our Consultants

  • Dr Winston Martin

    BSc (Hons) MB BS FRCP (UK)

    • Ambulatory Blood Pressure Recording
    • Angiogram
    • Coronary Angioplasty and Stent Insertion
    • Electrocardiogram
    • External Cardioversion
    • Heart2Heart Cardiac Care Package
  • Dr Scott Takeda

    Dr Scott Takeda

    MBBS CCST Cardiology and G(I)M FRCP

    • Ambulatory Blood Pressure Recording
    • Echocardiogram
    • Electrocardiogram
    • External Cardioversion
    • Healthy Heart Check
    • Heart2Heart Cardiac Care Package
    • Pacemaker
  • Dr Fountzopoulos

    Dr Evangelos Fountzopoulos

    MRCP MD

    • Ambulatory Blood Pressure Recording
    • Angiogram
    • Coronary Angioplasty and Stent Insertion
    • Electrocardiogram
    • External Cardioversion
  • Dr Laurence Nunn

    MA (Cantab) MBBS MRCP PGCHE

    • Ablation
    • Ambulatory Blood Pressure Recording
    • Electrocardiogram
    • Electrophysiology Study
    • External Cardioversion
    • Healthy Heart Check
  • Dr Edward Petzer

    MBCHB FRCP CSST

    • Ambulatory Blood Pressure Recording
    • Electrocardiogram
    • External Cardioversion
    • Faints, Falls and Fits (One-stop clinic)
    • Pacemaker
  • Dr Richard Cooke

    BA(Law) MD FRCP

    • Ambulatory Blood Pressure Recording
    • Angiogram
    • Coronary Angioplasty and Stent Insertion
    • Echocardiogram
    • Electrocardiogram
    • External Cardioversion
    • Healthy Heart Check
  • Dr Naveen Mudalagiri

    MBBS, MRCP, MD, BSc(Hons), PGCERT, HBE, FHEA

    • Ambulatory Blood Pressure Recording
    • Angiogram
    • Coronary Angioplasty and Stent Insertion
    • External Cardioversion
    • Healthy Heart Check
  • Dr Peter Kabunga

    LMSSA (London), MRCP (UK), Grad Dip Cardiac Electrophysiology

    • Ablation
    • Electrophysiology Study
    • External Cardioversion
    • Healthy Heart Check
    • Pacemaker