Cardioversion: Afib Rhythm Control

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If you're having problems with your heart rhythm (arrhythmia), cardioversion can reset it. It can stop a dangerous arrhythmia, like atrial fibrillation (afib), in its tracks. Once we've got your heart rhythm under control, we can treat the cause of the arrhythmia.

Heart Rhythm Control at UVA Health

At UVA Health, we're always exploring new ways to treat and manage heart rhythm disorders. Our arrhythmia care was the first of its kind in Virginia. We offer a range of advanced treatments you can't always find nearby. And you'll have access to clinical trials as part of our research center.

See the awards and recognition we've received for our heart care.


Cardioversion controls how fast your heart beats (rate control). There are two types of cardioversion:

Electrical cardioversion: Pads placed over your chest send an electric shock to your heart. The shock causes your heart's uneven electric pulses to stop and go back into a normal rhythm. You'll get medicine during this procedure so that you aren't aware of the shock.

Chemical (drug) cardioversion: Medicines are used to reset the heart's normal rhythm.

Keeping a Normal Rhythm

Once we get your heart back to a normal rhythm, you'll need more treatment to maintain it. Treatments may include:


These medicines work on your heart cells. They can help keep your heart at a normal rhythm. You may need to take them once or several times a day.

For some medicines, you'll have to stay in the hospital for 48-72 hours to start them. You might need regular blood tests to watch the level of the medicine in your blood. We may also watch your kidney, liver, or thyroid to make sure they're working right.


At UVA Health, you can get heart ablation through:

  • Catheter-based procedures
  • Open ablation surgery


Heart devices, like pacemakers, can help spot, manage, and treat dangerous heart rhythms.