Cardioversion day. Up at 6 a.m. to take meds and off to hospital for 8 a.m. on the ward. Left alone with a big blue box for my stuff and a medical gown to wear. Which way do these gowns go? It doesn’t look right fastened at the back; it does have a crossover so left the opening at the front. Handy for access to the chest, I think.
After answering the same personal and health questions approximately five times, I am moved to the theatre area. Chest partially shaved and ECG and defibrillator pads attached. Anaesthetic administered and oblivion reached; strangely not as narcotic and pleasant as I remember my last time.
I came round in the recovery area, nurse (anaesthetist, doctor? No idea) showed me the trace. A single shock and back in perfect normal sinus rhythm. I spent the next fifteen minutes watching the ECG for evidence of a reversion to AF. Perfect, no sign of reversion. I have been left with bald patches and nice little red circular scald marks where defibrillation pads had been.
Three hours later, an ECG on the wards again shows NSR. Talk with cardiologist prior to discharge. I am aware that the cardioversion is not usually a permanent fix and want advice on what to do and what to avoid in future. Cardiologist seems happy for me to continue as I was prior to AF, although maintaining the beta blockers and anticoagulants. I explained the demands on my heart of cycling and that I regularly used to approach my max HR (183) on hard climbs, but he was unconcerned. Left hospital with a appointment for 6 December.
I had been in Persistent AF for 8 months, everything I had read suggested to me that I was more likely to be one of the 25% who would not be responsive. I continued through the rest of the day, nervously checking pulse for irregularities. Went to bed at midnight, still in NSR and still a bit dazed and headachy from the general anaesthetic.