Cardioversion - Success rate and experiences - AF Association

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Cardioversion - Success rate and experiences

stokespur
stokespur
30 Replies

I'm new here. Had AF diagnosed about a year ago. I currently have no symptoms at all and feel ok, have an average 80bpm rate, sometimes 100 according to the day trace (it was a stressful day of starting a new job). I am aged 55. I now have a wrist monitor and rarely go above 70 in resting mode - although I understand these are not 100 percent accurate. Am now awaiting a cardio version, which I elected to do after deciding not to go on beta-blockers as I didn't want to take that route just yet. Can anyone share experiences of cardioversion - success stories or otherwise? I have read it's not hugely successful if AF has been present for a while. Any feedback would help please!

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BobD
BobDVolunteer

Cardioversion (DCCV) is not a cure for AF. Nothing is. The whole point is to see if you feel better in NSR or not in which case different treatment options can be signposted such as ablation. Since any and all treatment for AF is only ever about quality of life (QOL) this is an important thing to find out. Many people in permanent AF are asymptomatic and so long as their heart rate is controlled there is little point in trying to restore NSR (normal synus rhytm) as outcomes are not detrimental. Obviously stroke prevention by anticoagulation should be considered where appropriate.

By the way at such low heart rates are you really in AF? And no, few hand held monitors are accurate in such circumstances so maybe best to learn to take your pulse and check that way for correct rates.

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stokespur
stokespur
in reply to BobD

Thanks for the reply. I understand it's not a cure but was led to believe it can 'reset' your rhythm and possibly get your heart back to a normal rhythm? As for whether I am in AF with my lower rates, I can only go with what the Cardiologist has diagnosed. I know people suffer from higher rates and side effects, but i ma fortunately free from any of those at the moment.

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johnMiosh
johnMiosh
in reply to Hidden

When my AF became persistant, my HR was 57 wile resting and up to 80 while walking around. But vigorous exercise would send it soaring.

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Paulbounce

For me ? I recommend a CV 100% if your doc thinks you should have one.

It`s a simple enough procedure and you`ll be 'under' and won`t feel a thing. The first time I had one, I was worried sick the night before - that`s the worse part. Once you have it done you`ll wonder what the fuss was about - I promise you.

The downside is you don`t know how long it will keep you out of a-fib. It could be 2 hours or it could be two years. Know one knows.

IMO it`s well worth having it done.

Just one more thing. Ask your doc about trying something like Flecainide too - it will / can help you stay in sinus after the CV.

Good luck with your spark ;-)

Best,

Paul

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stokespur

that's a help, cheers!

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Paulbounce

Good luck Stoke. It`s certainly worth trying and might indicate what other treatments you might need (if any) in the future.

Best,

Paul

PS avoid any triggers for a week or so after the CV eg alcohol etc.

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lizardo
lizardo
in reply to Paulbounce

Hi Paul. Thanks for your post. Just learned today at my 3 month post ablation consultation with my EP that I will need to be cardioverted on Monday due to persistent AF. I don't usually feel phased about these procedures as I know I am in good hands but your post was very timely and it just gave me the extra reassurance that all will be well. I can't say having the paddles on my chest was on my bucket list. Hope it is a success, but I am a realist and appreciate it may not do the trick and a second ablation may be on the cards.

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Paulbounce
Paulbounce
in reply to lizardo

I promise you Lizardo it`s nothing to worry about. Honest - I wouldn`t say it if it wasn`t true. The paddles are not a problem - it`s the same as putting a plaster on. After that you`ll be asleep and will wake up 10 minutes later and have a nice cuppa and some biscuits.

Having a tooth filled is 100 times worse IMO. Try and post back here when you have had it done - I`ll bet my bottom dollar you`ll agree with me ;-)

Best,

Paul

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lizardo
lizardo
in reply to Paulbounce

I am fairly chilled out by it. Not a lot phases me these days. I have learned to take things in my stride.

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oyster

Sinus rhythm lasting only 1 minute would count as a successful cardioversion. Generally, the duration of sinus rhythm after successful cardioversion will vary inversely with the duration of the pre-existing persistent atrial fibrillation.

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stokespur
stokespur
in reply to oyster

thanks

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Mikee69

I have had 3 DCCv, first one lasted a little over 6 months, but I was on amiodorone too.

Second one lasted a couple of months, third one a couple of weeks.

Have also had a couple of chemical ones with amiodorone and flecanide by IV.

It did prove that I was a suitable candidate for an ablation which I had done 2 years ago this month, and I am so glad that I did

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stokespur
stokespur
in reply to Mikee69

thanks

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Ianc2

how is your lifestyle; - blood pressure? weight - as in waist half your height? regular exercise? Drinking? sedentary lifestyle?

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stokespur
stokespur
in reply to Ianc2

gave up smoking a good few years ago. gave up alcohol 4 years ago. No caffeine for the last 2 months. Blood pressure 120/80, just under 14 stone, 6ft 1inch tall. Play football once a week and Yoga once a week. Work at a computer daily.

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Ianc2
Ianc2
in reply to stokespur

Aargh - death by computer. I used to run a computer dept and had a cardioversion, open heart surgery to repair valves and an ablation to fix afib.

If I could go back I would increase my activity levels on a daily basis, nothing desperate, say an hours brisk walk every day, or half an hour on a cross trainer to get you blood moving and stop the sludge forming.

Consider awarding yourself a fitbit or similar to see how much you move on an hourly and daily basis. Don't send Emails without getting up to check with the recipient. Give up the nibbles, cakes and biscuits, and treat sugar like poison. It's a different way of life!

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Hidden
Hidden

I was diagnosed with AF last September... mine was all the time, not attacks.

I had a CV in January this year. Went back to NSR. Still taking Bisoprolol, Ramipril and Apixaban. My blood pressure is low now but I feel fine with it.

I’m still in NSR and I had major stomach surgery 2 weeks ago.

I see the Cardiologist in July to see how things are going re the heart.

I want to be the one whose CV works forever!!!

In reality, it’s great to be back in rhythm... so I’m definitely recommending it.

Good Luck 👍

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hanne6263

My husband was in permanent AF for well over a year before his cardioversion in September 2017. Touch wood, he's still in normal sinus rhythm!

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Suemanchew

Hiya was there any reason it took over a year for your husband's CV as I have been told by cardiologist they like to do it within 6 months I'm overweight and would like to lose weight before procedure if they go ahead with it.

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hanne6263

I think it may have been because his first echo suggested a valve problem. When it was repeated on review a year later this wasn't seen. Cardioversion was never suggested as an option by the first cardiologist he saw. A different cardiologist ( same NHS dept) had a different opinion.

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DerekMcAvoy

Diagnosis of AF last September. All the time not episodes.

Sotalol and Apixaban prescribed.

Otherwise fit and healthy.

Don’t smoke.

Vegetarian.

Low alcohol intake.

Walked a minimum of six miles a day. Cycled 50-70 miles a week May-September.

Cardioversion January 18th this year. Straight back into normal rhythm and that has held so far.

Cardiologist highly recommended ablation as I was (in his words) “an ideal candidate “

Ablation scheduled for this Thursday at Papworth.

Fingers crossed that it is successful first time.

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sleeksheep

I have had a quite a few successful cardioversions the only hiccup has been getting the right prescription afterwards. My last CV was July 2015 at which time I was put on flecainide and diltiazem instead of the previous sotalol which always failed ( but the cardiologist kept prescribing it until I changed cardiologist ) havent had a single afib event since then.

Not sure if you can bypass beta blockers if you get flecainide after a successful cv.

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Fibfab

Hi,

I’m not directly involved with cardioversion but if your heart is structurally normal, I believe there is a better success rate.

Also, your age is on your side.

I suppose the difficulty for you is that you’re asymptomatic so you won’t be aware, necessarily, if you convert.

You may need to keep a closer check on your pulse rate and regularity.

All the best and keep us posted 💚

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jeanjeannie50

I actually like and look forward to having a cardioversion, have had quite a few. They only take about 5 minutes and the feeling of waking up in normal sinus rhythm is just so wonderful! One of mine lasted a day through climbing a hill too soon, but most help for years. I think the thing to do afterwards is not put your heart under any great physical strain for at least a month. Let it get stronger and used to beating correctly first and then gradually build up slowly to going up hills and doing more strenuous things.

Jean

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Gilli54

I’ve had two cardioversions. The first after my first AF attack with tachycardia in 2002. It worked for five years. My AF was possibly triggered by overactive thyroid and I hoped a thyroidectomy would be a permanent cure. Alas, After five years AF returned. Had conversion with flecainide IV. It lasted three years. Gradually the period between lessened. To a year in the end. I had a cardioversion in May last year which lasted a week. But I was also on flecainide this time. I went in and out of AF until by October it stabilised. The procedure itself is not in any way uncomfortable for you due to the GA. I am now on flecainide and bisoprolol. 5mg. Reduced from 10mg over time. Sinus rhythm is better for me. But drug side effects can be bothersome along with anxiety. I think it goes with the condition.

I hope whatever you choose improves your quality of life. That’s what it is all about. 😃

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bennie06

Very high percentage success rate of the actual conversion then fairly high failure rate during the first month, especially during the first week. (A little research will give you the numbers). Positivity begats positivity so after twelve months of normal rhythm my AF is cured, with a little help from Bisoporol! Very best of luck and stay positive.

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Rubymurray25

I have had three DC Cardioversions, all lasting about 12 months, I did have a flecainide IV which avoided a further DC, but the last time the flecainide didn't work, so not only are we are all different to one another , we are also different ourselves!! The actual cardioversion is like a blink of the eye and such a great feeling when it's done. Good luck with whatever decisions you make or agree with. I have just agreed to have an ablation as I was told it was the best route for Atrial Flutter.

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Bolander

I had a cardioversion two years ago and, touch wood, am still in normal sinus rhythm. As others have remarked the procedure is quick and painless so nothing to worry about. As BobD said, even if it is not successful, the fact that NSR us restored, even for a short while, suggests that you would be a suitable candidate for an ablation.

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Mugster

Two days in NSR for me. Successful ablation 7 months later.

CV procedure was straightforward performed by a nurse, in fact a very nice deep sleep for 30 mins.

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