Cardioversion for afib

Ask the doctor

Q. I am scheduled for an electrical cardioversion for my atrial fibrillation. What should I expect?

A. Electrical cardioversion is a procedure to convert a fast or irregular heartbeat (such as what happens with atrial fibrillation, or afib) to a normal rhythm. Before the procedure, your cardiologist may recommend a special ultrasound test of your heart to check for blood clots. Cardioversion may dislodge any clots, which can be life-threatening. So if clots are found, the procedure may be delayed for a few weeks, so you can take blood-thinning medications to lower your risk of complications such as stroke.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »