Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor
Informed patients make better patients.
When is electrical shock indicated for atrial fibrillation?
When is electrical shock used or not used for AFIB?
submitted by Nancy from Houston on 1/05/2013
by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Jorge Guttin, MD
From your simple question to a complex answer, it depends on many factors:
The length of existence of the A-fib, because the longer you've had it (in years) the less chance of successfully converting to normal rhythm using cardioversion (electrical shock).
Its previous adequate medical treatment and its previous response to therapy.
The size of the left atrium.
If the patient is presently on medications or not; How long the patient has been on anticoagulation.
If TEE was done.
Whether the left atrium is free of thrombi.
Whether cardioversion has been previously tried and whether or not it was successful.
If there are any other cardiac problems associated with A-fib.
And finally, if the patient is tolerating the arrhythmia.
See also on this site:
Has your question or a similar one already been answered?Search
all the Heart Doctor questions and answers.
To search for a doctor or access St. Luke's physician referral service, use the "Find a Doctor" link at the top of this page.
Updated January 2013