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Cardioversion and the Cardioverter Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Cardioversion is the conversion of one cardiac rhythm or electrical pattern to another, almost always (and hopefully) from an abnormal to a normal one. This conversion can be accomplished by pharmacologic agents using medications or by electrical cardioversion using a defibrillator known as a cardioverter: Implantable defibrillators can continuously monitor the heart rhythm in order to detect and correct rapid arrhythmias such as (1) ventricular tachycardia (rapid regular beating of the ventricles, the bottom chambers of the heart); and (2) ventricular fibrillation (rapid irregular beating of the ventricles). These ventricular arrhythmias impair the pumping efficiency of the heart and raise the risks of fainting (syncope) and sudden cardiac arrest. They tend to develop in people with coronary artery disease and heart muscle diseases (cardiomyopathies). A defibrillator can be implanted within the body by far less invasive techniques than in the past because the devices, aside from being more technologically advanced, are smaller. An implantable defibrillator is about the size of a minicassette. The defibrillator corrects the heart rhythm by delivering precisely calibrated and timed electrical shocks, when needed, to restore a normal heartbeat.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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