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Cardioversion is a procedure where an electrical shock is delivered to the heart to convert an abnormal heart rhythm back to a normal rhythm. Most elective or "non-emergency" cardioversions are performed to treat atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, benign heart rhythm disturbances. Cardioversions may be used in emergency situations to correct a rapid, abnormal rhythm associated with faintness, low blood pressure, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness.

Cardioversions can be "chemical" or "electrical". Chemical cardioversion refers to the use of anti-arrhythmic medications to restore the heart's normal rhythm. Your doctor may decide to start your anti-arrhythmic medication as an outpatient, or he or she may choose to admit you to the hospital to give you an intravenous (IV) or oral anti-arrhythmic medication while your heart rhythm is closely monitored.

Electrical cardioversion is a procedure where perfectly-timed electrical shock is delivered through a the chest wall to the heart through special electrodes or paddles that are applied to the skin of the chest and back. This split-second interruption of the abnormal beat allows the heart's electrical system to regain control and restore a normal heartbeat.

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