Discharge Instructions for Cardioversion

Your doctor performed a procedure called cardioversion. Your doctor used a controlled electric shock or a medication to briefly stop all electrical activity in your heart. This helped restore your heart’s normal rhythm. Here are some instructions to follow while you recover.

Home care

  • Because cardioversion typically requires sedation, you won’t be able to drive home. You will need a ride.

  • Don’t be alarmed if the skin on your chest is wrinkled or feels like it is sunburned. Your doctor may prescribe a soothing lotion to relieve this discomfort. These minor symptoms will go away in a few days.

  • Ask your doctor about medications to keep your heart rhythm steady.

  • If you were prescribed medication, take it as instructed by your doctor. Don’t skip doses or take double doses. Cardioversion requires blood thinners to prevent a delayed risk of stroke. Be sure you discuss which medication you are taking to prevent stroke. Ask when you need to have your medication levels checked, and whether you may be able to stop taking it in the future or whether it is recommended that you take it for life.

  • Learn to take your own pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor when you should seek emergency medical attention. He or she will tell you which pulse rate reading is dangerous. 

  • Keep in mind this procedure may need to be repeated at a later date. After the procedure, your doctor will tell you if the treatment worked or if you will need further treatments or medication.


Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to seek medical care

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Chest pain.

  • Shortness of breath.

Otherwise, call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Fainting

  • Chest pain with increased activity

  • Irregular heartbeat or fast pulse


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