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Two electrode pads connected to the defribrillator are placed onto the front of the patient's chest (or front and back) and the cardiac rhythm is monitored on the ECG (electrocardiogram). A selected electrical current (usually biphasic) is selected and the timing of the shock decided upon - usually synchronised with the R wave of the ECG. The patient is usually sedated for comfort, and when ready, everyone stands clear of the patient whilst the shock is delivered. Sometimes more than one shock, at higher energies are required.
Any of the following abnormal heart rhythms may be treated with electrical cardioversion:
This depends on the underlying cardiac condition. Cardioversion in itself is not a major procedure and can be done in a day procedure unit, in the case of non life-theatening arrhythmias.
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