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Direct Current Cardioversion (DCCV)

What is DC Cardioversion?

DC Cardioversion is a short procedure where a electric shock is used to reset the heart rhythm.

What happens during DC Cardioversion ?

The procedure is usually performed under a very brief acting general anaesthetic, rarely under sedation, and this will be discussed with you.

Once you are under anaesthetic or sedation two sticky pads are placed on chest and an electric shock is delivered between the pads to reset the heart. Occasionally this is not successful and mutiple shocks are required.

The procedure lasts less than a minute, you will usually be under anaesthetic for approximately 5 minutes.

Who should have a DC  Cardioversion ?

DC cardioversion is used to reset the heart rhythm where a rhythm disturbance fails to settle on its own. It is often used in the management of patients with atrial fibirillation and atrial flutter.

What are the risks ?

DC cardioversion is usually a safe and well tolerated procedure. Patients require to be taking an anti-coagulant tablet for a period of time before the procedure to minimise the risk of blood clots forming in the heart, as when the cardioversion is performed blood clots can travel from the heart to the brain and cause a stroke. The risk of stroke is minimal if the anticoagulants are taken as prescribed. Sometimes patients may experience some mild discomfort on the skin at the site of the pads, but this usually settles quickly.

Rarely DC Cardioversion fails to reset the heart rhythm, and an internal cardioversion procedure needs to be considered, sometimes the rhythm is reset but recure very shortly afterwards and further treatment is required.

Where are the procedures done  ?

The cardioversion procedures are offered in BMI Fernbrae Hospital,  Spire Shaw Fair Park Hospital in Edinburgh, and BMI Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow. The consultations to discuss management and outpatient care before and after the procedure can be offered in any of the clinics in Dundee, Edinburgh or Glasgow.

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