Cardioversion is a medical procedure used to treat irregular heart rhythm, a condition also known as arrhythmia. Arrhythmia can prevent the heart from pumping enough blood to the rest of the body and eventually lead to a stroke, heart attack or cardiac arrest. Cardioversion helps restore a normal heartbeat through a noninvasive procedure.
Medication alone is usually not enough to correct arrhythmia. With cardioversion, electric shocks are sent to the heart to stop the abnormal rhythm and restart a normal one. This is done while the patient is under sedation, and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Most people can go home after the sedative wears off.