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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Cardioversion is a procedure to correct arrhythmias, which is when your heart beats too fast or irregularly. Arrhythmias may prevent your body from getting the blood and oxygen it needs. Cardioversion delivers a shock of electricity to your heart to help it return to its normal rhythm.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Examples of blood thinners include heparin and warfarin. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin.
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- Heart medicine: This medicine is given to strengthen or regulate your heartbeat.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your cardiologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your cardiologist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have new or worsening weakness or tiredness.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You feel like your heart is fluttering or jumping in your chest.
- You feel lightheaded or you have fainted.
- You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
- You have discomfort in your chest that feels like squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain.
- You have pain or discomfort in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm.
- You have weakness or numbness in part of your body.
- You have sudden trouble breathing.
- You become confused or have difficulty speaking.
- You have dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.