Skip to Content

Electrical Cardioversion

Electrical cardioversion is a procedure to correct an irregular heart rhythm caused by atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for your electrical cardioversion?

When you choose UPMC in Central Pa. for your electrical cardioversion, you will receive expert care from some of the region's most experienced cardiac electrophysiologists (cardiologists that specialize in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders).

Our physicians perform hundreds of electrical cardioversion procedures each year using the latest technology and techniques. And, if you require additional cardiovascular care, the specialists at UPMC in Central Pa. have the skills and experience needed to perform advanced cardiovascular procedures and offer you the latest treatment options.

What is electrical cardioversion?

Electrical cardioversion uses paddles or patches attached to the outside of your chest to pass low-voltage electricity through your heart to restore your normal heart rhythm.

Non-emergency electrical cardioversion is performed to treat heart rhythm disorders and reduce the risk of related complications. However, electrical cardioversion also can be used in emergency situations to treat sudden, life-threatening heart rhythm problems.

What happens during electrical cardioversion?

A member of your medical team will place an intravenous (IV) line to deliver medication that controls pain and helps you relax. Large patches covered in sticky gel will be placed on specific areas of your chest and you will be given oxygen through your nose.

Your medical team will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, respirations, and blood oxygen level throughout the procedure. While you are asleep, your medical team will use a special machine to deliver the electric shock through the patches on your chest. Sometimes, more than one shock is necessary to restore normal heart rhythm. The procedure takes 10-20 minutes.

What can I expect after electrical cardioversion?

You will remain in the hospital for several hours after the procedure, or possibly overnight if you are starting new medication. A nurse will check your blood pressure frequently and you will have an electrocardiogram to make sure your heart rhythm is normal.

Although most patients do not have any side effects from the procedure, some patients may develop skin redness and a sunburn-like feeling where the patches were placed. In rare cases, your doctor may prescribe an ointment to treat irritated skin.

How long does it take to recover after electrical cardioversion?

You can probably return to your normal routine soon after your procedure, but you should ask your doctor when you can return to work. You may be instructed not to drive for a certain amount of time after your procedure, so you may need to arrange for someone to drive you home. It is very important that you see your doctor for follow-up visits as recommended.

Need more information?

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute: 717-731-0101
Pediatric: 717-761-0200
Hanover: 717-637-1738
York: 717-849-5576
Red Rose Lancaster: 717-735-8150
Cardiac Consultants Lancaster: 717-299-5000

Request Information


UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
1251 East Main Street
Suite 3
Annville, PA 17003

Adult Cardiology: 717-731-0101
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
360 Alexander Spring Road
Carlisle, PA 17013

Adult Cardiology: 717-243-6557
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-243-0102

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
2020 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Adult Cardiology: 717-731-0101
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-731-8359

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
900 Century Drive
Suite 100
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Phone: 717-591-3660 or 800-248-0257
Fax: 717-591-3661

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Medical Professional Center of Newport
300 Bretz Court
Newport, PA 17074

Phone: 717-567-7246 or 800-248-0257
Fax: 717-567-2621

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
2808 Old Post Road
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Adult Cardiology: 717-920-4400
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-920-4401

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
12 Saint Paul Drive
Suite 205
Chambersburg, PA 17201

Adult Cardiology: 717-217-6881
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-217-6889

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Commerce Park Professional Center
20 Expedition Trail
Suite 203
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-637-1738
Fax: 717-646-7430 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
16324 Mount Airy Road
Lower Level
Shrewsbury, PA 17361

Phone: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
1600 6th Avenue
Suite 105
York, PA 17403

Phone: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 100
Lititz, PA 17543

Phone: 717-299-5000
Fax: 717-431-1205 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (formerly Cardiac Consultants)
1697 Crown Avenue
Suite 100
Lancaster, PA 17601

Phone: 717-299-5000
Fax: 717-431-1205

Connect with the UPMC Central PA Portal app 24/7

The UPMC Central PA Portal provides patients with convenient and secure access to their health information right at their fingertips. View test results. Get virtual care. Message your care team. Schedule and manage appointments. And much more.

Log-In or Sign Up Today

Contact UPMC

When it comes to health care for you and your family, UPMC is here. It's easy to find the right doctor, health screenings, programs, classes, and more.

Contact UPMC in central Pa.