What is it?

Cardioversion is the passing of an electric current through the heart muscle with the aim of returning your cardiac rhythm to normal. This treatment is commonly used for patients with atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.


You will need to have an INR blood test the day before your admission if you are on Warfarin.

You will be required to fast from food and drink for 4 hours prior to your admission to the cardiac care unit or cardiac surgical unit.

What to bring on the day

  • Medicare card
  • Any concession or private health fund cards
  • All medication currently being taken, in the original packaging

For overnight stays please also bring night attire, including dressing gown and slippers (non-slip) and toiletries


  • Your cardiologist, an anaesthetist and nursing staff will be present for this procedure which will be performed in your room
  • You will have a small intravenous line inserted, be connected to a cardiac monitor, given oxygen to breathe and have a light anaesthetic administered
  • The cardioversion will be performed while you are asleep
  • Two paddles are usually placed on your chest but sometimes one is sited on your chest and the other on your back
  • When you wake up you may feel drowsy and will rest in bed while being observed by the nursing staff until you have fully recovered from the anaesthetic
  • You may or may not have some chest soreness
  • When you sit up to get out of bed do so slowly as dizziness is not uncommon following general anaesthesia


Later in the day or the next morning you will be allowed to go home with an adult. A follow up appointment will be arranged prior to discharge. 
For the 24 hours following a general anaesthetic you should not:

  • Drive a car
  • Travel on public transport
  • Drink alcohol
  • Sign important papers
  • Use heavy machinery

If you are a patient undergoing this procedure and you have any queries, please phone
(08) 8297 6888 or raise them with your cardiologist.

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