MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT:
If you have an abnormal heart rhythm your doctor may perform electrocardioversion where he or she uses an electrical shock to restore your normal heartbeat. The heart normally beats in regular rhythm at 60 to 100 beats per minute. This steady and coordinated rhythm allows the heart to effectively pump blood. Electrical signals that travel through the heart control the heart’s rhythm. These electrical signals start in a cluster of cells called the sinoatrial node or pacemaker. The sinoatrial node or sa node is located in the wall of right upper chamber of the heart called, the right atrium. When the electrical signals reach the heart muscle they cause it to contract and pump blood. An abnormal heart rhythm is called an arrhythmia. During atrial fibrillation the atria quiver because of chaotic electrical signals in the heart resulting in an abnormally fast or irregular heartbeat. Because of the abnormal heart beat, blood may pool in the atria which can result in the formation of a blood clot. If the blood clot passes into the general circulation, it may cause a stroke. Before the procedure, you will be connected to an intravenous line. You will be sedated so you will sleep through the procedure. EKG electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart’s electrical activity. Once you are sedated, special cardioversion pads or paddles will be placed on the skin of your chest or your chest and back. These pads or paddles will deliver an electrical shot through your chest to your heart. The shot may be repeated several times until the heart resumes its normal rhythm. After your electrical cardioversion, you will be monitored closely in a recovery room or in the coronary care unit of the hospital. Once the sedation wears off and you are in stable condition you will be sent home.