Fibrillation of the Atria Cardioversion
Electrical cardioversion may be used to treat atrial fibrillation. Cardioversion introduces a brief electrical current to the heart, through the chest wall. The electric current is delivered through metal electrodes that are attached to the surface of the chest. The procedure resets the heart's own pacemaker, which converts the atrial fibrillation to a normal rhythm.
An internal automatic cardiac defibrillator may also be used to perform cardioversion in those who have recurrent atrial fibrillation. This is a small device that is placed inside the chest, like a pacemaker. The defibrillator can deliver a brief electric current when it senses atrial fibrillation.
Some cardiac pacemakers also have built-in defibrillator capability, allowing for cardioversion when the heart rate or rhythm becomes abnormal. Pacemakers are electronic devices that regulate the heart rate within a normal range.
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