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Chemical Cardioversion


What is a chemical cardioversion?

Chemical cardioversion is a procedure to give you medicine to correct an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is when your heart beats too fast or irregularly. It may prevent your body from getting the blood and oxygen it needs. Your heart has 4 chambers, called the atria and ventricles. The atria are at the top of your heart, and the ventricles are at the bottom of your heart. Most arrhythmias that need cardioversion start in the atria.

How is a chemical cardioversion done?

You may need blood thinners or other medicines before and during the procedure. These may help prevent a clot caused by an arrythmia. The cardioversion chemical will be put into your IV. You may need more than one dose of the chemical to help your heart rhythm return to normal. If the chemical cardioversion does not work, you may need an electrical cardioversion. Electric pads or paddles are used to give your heart an electric shock. This shock may reset the heart and return it to a normal beat.

What are the risks of chemical cardioversion?

Chemical cardioversion may cause other heart or blood pressure problems. Even with cardioversion, your heartbeat may not return to or stay in a normal rhythm. Some arrhythmias may cause a blood clot to form in your heart. The clot may travel to other parts of your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. If untreated, some arrhythmias can increase your risk of heart failure or a heart attack.

Where can I find more information?

  • American Heart Association
    7272 Greenville Avenue
    Dallas , TX 75231-4596
    Phone: 1- 800 - 242-8721
    Web Address:

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You have new symptoms that you did not have during your last visit.
  • You have new or worsening swelling in your feet or ankles.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your heart is fluttering or jumping.
  • You feel lightheaded, or you fainted.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Chemical Cardioversion

Micromedex® Care Notes