What is a Cardioversion?

Some fast and irregular heart rhythms are not effectively treated by medications. A cardioversion is a procedure used to interrupt the abnormal rhythm in your heart to allow the normal rhythm to take over. This is achieved by shocking your heart with a small amount of electricity.


  • Please do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Please remove any nail polish and do not wear makeup.
  • Leave your jewelry (including all rings) and valuables at home.
  • Any required blood tests will be ordered by the doctor.


  • Information specific to you and your medications will be shared with you before your procedure

Procedure Day:

  • Please report to St. Boniface Hospital Bergen Cardiac Care Centre Patient Registration located on Y2. Enter through the Main Entrance of the Hospital and take the elevator to the 2nd floor. Directions to the Y2 Bergen Cardiac Care Center can be found here.
  • The procedure will be done in a specialized unit where you will be closely monitored.
  • You will be placed on a heart monitor and a machine that will deliver the brief shock to your heart.  A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm. You will be given oxygen to breathe. 
  • An intravenous (IV) will be started in order to give you a short-acting anaesthetic or medication to make you fall asleep. You will be fully asleep during the procedure.
  • After you are asleep, a brief shock is delivered through patches on your chest.  If necessary, two or three shocks may be given to convert your heart to a normal rhythm.

What Happens After the Procedure?

  • Your heart rhythm, blood pressure and pulse will be closely monitored.
  • You can expect to be in hospital for a total of 2-3 hours.
  • Check with the Cardiologist about a follow-up appointment.
  • You cannot drive for 24 hours following the procedure.
  • Check with the Cardiologist about any other restrictions on your activities.


  • After your cardioversion, please continue on your previous medications unless instructed otherwise by the Cardiologist

Further Treatment:

  • Cardioversion is not always effective in restoring a normal heart rhythm.  Sometimes the abnormal heart rhythm may reoccur.  Every case is individual.  Please discuss any concerns or questions you have with the Cardiologist or nurse.

Follow-up Appointment:  

Your Physician will let you know if a follow up appointment is required.