Taking Charge of Your Health

This film will show you
what to expect if you are having
a cardioversion treatment. My name is David John Coleman. I’m aged 64 and I am from Birmingham. I’m here today
to have electric cardioversion. At the moment I feel unwell in that I’m breathless,
I’m tired, and I fall asleep a lot. I can’t do normal activity. I’m Evaun Teoh, the arrhythmia nurse specialist at St
George’s Hospital in Tooting, London. Cardioversion is
an electrical shock treatment to correct the heart rhythm, which is atrial fibrillation,
back to a normal rhythm. I enjoy being fit. I’d like to get back to normality. Pop this under your tongue, please. We are hoping
that a cardioversion procedure can alleviate his symptoms.
Usually we see it almost immediately. It’s generally a very safe procedure.
It takes about five to ten minutes. Let’s put the cuff on your arm. When they arrive
on the day of the procedure, we take their blood pressure,
their pulse and their temperature. Then we do an ECG to confirm that they are still
in atrial fibrillation. The patients need
to be anti-coagulated to thin the blood
prior to the procedure. Now, these are
defibrillation pads, David. Some patients
need their chests shaved. Then we attach the defibrillation
pads onto the chest in specific positions. This is the area,here,
just over your heart. After we’ve prepared them, the anaesthetist will deliver
a short-acting general anaesthetic to put the patient to sleep. Just breathe normally. Then we start the machine
and we shock the patient. Oxygen away. Stand clear. Charging. Everyone, stand clear. Shocking. Usually they get shocked once,
but we give them three chances. We evaluate each step of the way. Back in sinus. Taking a pulse check. Good pulse. When the patients wake up, they may
sometimes feel a little bit dizzy. Where the pads are attached to skin,
they get a minor skin irritation, but it will fade away with time. Generally
they recover fairly quickly. – Hello.
– Hello. It went very well. Got you back to normal rhythm
just with one shock, OK? About eight or nine out of ten
patients are successful on the day. Usually about an hour later
we repeat an ECG to check the rhythm
has gone back to normal. Right, David, this is your ECG, showing your sinus rhythm,
normal heart rhythm. Well, I feel normal. That’s the absolute simplicity of it. You don’t realise how unwell you were
until you actually feel normal. They can go home the same day, but as they receive
a general anaesthetic, we ask them not to drive
or operate machinery for a minimum of 24 hours. It’s very good and it’s so quick. I mean, it takes no time at all. Thank you very much for your help. It’s my pleasure. I’m aiming
to go back to work next week. My body feels alive again. Coronary heart disease is still
the single biggest killer in the UK, but for over 50 years
we’ve tirelessly pioneered research that has helped transform
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