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Continuing our review of Atrial Fibrillation treatment, Part 2 looks at benefits of Cardioversion

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Atrial fibrillation Treatment Part 2



If AF is recent or causing severe symptoms a cardioversion is a good option to reinstate normal heart rhythm. A cardioversion involves using a small electric shock through electrodes (patches or paddles) placed on the chest while the patient in under a general anaesthetic. The electrodes are connected to defibrillator which delivers shocks in a controlled manor to the chest.


Risks from cardioversion

As blood clots may develop within the atria due to slow or less consistent blood slow due to AF, a risk from cardioversion is that a thrombus (blood clot) breaks away from the atria as normal heart rhythm is restored during the cardioversion. This can lead to a blood clot traveling through the circulatory system i.e., Thromboembolism. For this reason, anticoagulants such as warfarin or a NOAC are prescribed for most patients for at least 4 weeks before and after the cardioversion. Many patients are prescribed anticoagulants long term after a cardioversion.


Pharmacological cardioversion

Pharmacological cardioversion is undertaken with an oral or intravenous anti-arrhythmic drug such as flecainide acetate or amiodarone. Electrical cardioversion is preferred if AF has been present for over 48 hours

Success rates of cardioversion for AF

Cardioversion success rates for restoring normal heart rhythm from AF is over 90%. Success rates is lower if AF is present for more a few months. For this reason, cardioversion is recommended as soon as possible after AF presents. Success from cardioversion is lower if there is enlargement of the left atrium. A cardioversion may only maintain sinus rhythm for a few minutes, days, or weeks after the procedure. Recurrence rate of AF after cardioversion ranges from 70 to 85% one-year post cardioversion meaning antiarrhythmic drugs are often used long term after the cardioversion. 


BPro Cardio Screen Service

Measures artery stiffness to identify risk of blockages and cardiovascular and circulatory disease. BPRo is placed like a watch on your wrist and is pain free. A pulse wave reads and calculates a wave signal that indicates the elasticity of large, small, and peripheral artery walls as well as tests for stress, central blood pressure, heart rate, and more. It is now €35 (was €50); it only takes about 15 minutes. The next clinic is October 29th (from 9am to 5pm) at Whelehans Pearse St. Book online on the Whelehans Website or by calling Whelehans at 04493 34591.

To be continued…next week


Disclaimer: BPro Cardio is not an alternative to medical assessment; it can indicate risk of cardiovascular events but is not a diagnosis

For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore) or

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