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Know the risks of cardioversion: A treatment for the heart condition atrial fibrillation…

by , 19 May 2014

If your heart beats too fast or irregularly, you have a heart disorder called atrial fibrillation. It's a serious heart problem that can result in heart failure or stroke.

Your doctor could give your medication to regulate your heartbeat. Alternatively, he could suggest cardioversion. Here's what you should know about it…


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Using cardioversion to try relieve symptoms of this heart disorder

Doctors sometimes use cardioversion to try revert an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). It’s an electrical procedure that involves low energy shocks to the heart. This procedure is normally done on an outpatient basis in hospital.

Don’t confuse this with defibrillation. This is when a medical professional gives high electrical energy shocks to the heart in a life-threatening situation, like a heart attack.  

Before your cardioversion procedure, your doctor will ask you not to eat anything for about 12 hours. He’ll also prescribe anti-coagulant drugs for you to take for several weeks before the procedure. This is to try prevent dangerous clots dislodging during the procedure.
Which brings me to the risks associated with this cardioversion...

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Understand the risks of cardioversion before you go in for this procedure

When you undergo cardioversion, it could have the opposite effect: This is where your heartbeat becomes more severe with the procedure. This could lead to heart failure and increased risk for stroke.

The other risk is that during the procedure, blood clots get released into the bloodstream and travel to your organs. If this happens, they can cause damage to your organs. These clots can also block your arteries, resulting in a stroke.

Discuss with your doctor whether trying these natural alternatives and avoiding these risk factors could postpone or even avert cardioversion. 

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