How long should I expect/hope to get out of a cardioversion?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi everyone, I'm a49 yo male living in South Australia.

I am interested ing hear about how long subsequent cardioversions have lasted for Afib patients.

I was admitted in early Dec.2014 (just over a year ago) with a tachycardia induced cardiomyopathy and was also in Afib. Tests estimated my EF at 25%!

 I was cardioverted mid Jan. 2015 but jumped again a few days later. My cardiologist then put me on Amioderone and cardioverted me again in mid Feb2015. 

After a month of being in rhythm and on meds my EF improved to 54%( and is currently58%).

Was taken off Amioderone mid year(because of the possible dangers of long term use) and put onto Sotolol.

I had been in sinus rhythm until yesterday morning, had no symptoms, but my blood pressure/heart rate device has also has an Afib alert function, which alerted me to the fact that I was in Afib again!

I presented at A&E at my local public hospital and was cardioverted back into sinus rhythm later the same morning. The first attempt was successful in getting me back into sinus rhythm(same as the other cardioversions)and I was home for lunch.

I know that there are many variables, but am now wondering how long can one expect/hope for from a cardioversion?

I'm think that 11 months is pretty good but am now a bit concerned that subsequent cardioversions won't last as long.

I keep racking my brain as to what may have caused me to back into Afib and have come up with numerous possible scenarios, but suspect the most likely one is that the protective effects of the Amioderone are finally wearing off (Amioderone has a half of of about 55days, so have now gone through 3or4 half lives and levels would now be very low).

I could happily with live with being cardioverted once or twice a year, as I'm reluctant to have an ablation at this point as I think ablation technology is an area that is still being refined (only about 60% of ablations are successful on the first attempt). 

I believe that every year I can postpone having an ablation, the greater the likelihood that it is going to be effective on the first attempt (you can't 'unburn' heart muscle).

Apologies for the long post,  but felt that I needed to give some background details and put it all in context.

Am really interested to know how long cardioversions have lasted for others out there?


Simon smile


1 like, 10 replies

10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Simon. Like you l live in SA and have had AF for 2 yrs. I am 52. I have never been cardioverted. I just wait it out. The highest my heart rate gets is about 130. If i can avoid my triggers( preservatives/msg) l dont get AF. If l eat out and then get it it lasts between 1-4 days. I am on Sotolol too but dont think it prevents or treats my AF. Its alot of trial and error. Good luck.
    • Posted

      Thanks for your response Robyn. Yes, your right, pinpointing the trigger is going to the tricky bit.

      I was convinced that it was my severe sleep apnea that was the main cause, so now sleep with a CPAP machine, but guess I'll have to review that as the main cause now.

      I've had some pretty strong back pain recently and the physio attached those pads that they run an electric current through to make your muscles 'twitch'. When I checked my blood pressure and heart rate the next morning(as I do every morning) I discovered that I was in Afib. Of course this could just be coincidental, as there are so many possible triggers, it is very difficult to point any one thing (or even a group of several contributing factors). Would be great if I could figure it out!


    • Posted

      Hi Simon.i have sleep apnoea too but it is completely treated w cpap. I kept a food diary. Drinks put me in AF within hours but food took 24 hrs. Make sure you take magnesium and your blood thinner. Good luck finding what triggers it for you. This forum helped me immensely-it seems there are lots of different triggers. Robyn.
  • Posted

    Hi Simon I live in the UK am also a nurse practitioner and have AF and atrial flutter since 2011. I can tell you that cardio version can last from only a few hours to several months for some people nothing is certain. I to have opted not to have ablation mainly due to risks associated with the procedure,but I know there are many people that have had success with it, it's just my personal choice. What is important is that you eliminate all caffeine from your diet as this is proven to make AF worse, also get your bloods checked for Potassium and Magnesium levels both really important. I myself also find alcohol and some spices especially chilli act as triggers, also eating late at night. I have also reduced my food portion size down as for me being too full also starts it off.  I do hope this has been of some help and wish you well.
    • Posted

      Hi June , thanks for your feedback, it is very much appreciated. So getting eleven months out of a cardioversion is probably not too bad really, all things considered?

      Do you know if subsequent cardioversions tend to last less each time?

      I've started each day with a coffe for the last 11 months! (May need to re think this, or switch to decaf).

      And if I'm completely honest about it, need to get back to being more disciplined about my alcohol intake, as it has gradually increased in recent weeks. The one to two alcoholic drinks that would usually have a few times a week, kind of became a bit more like three or four most days of the week over the Christmas/new year period( and even a couple of occasions where it would have been more like 5 or 6!)

      How many times have you been cardioverted since 2011?

      It will interesting to see how long I can manage to stay in for this time.


    • Posted

      June, i have learned "Blood Tests" for magnesium & Potassium are not conclusive or acurate [there are post somewhere on here that state this also you can search on goggle]

      I do agree that eating too much especially at night can trigger Afib, however caffiene does not affect me at all..the one main thing that puts me in Afib is over exertion, but i guess many different things affect many different people,Afib its a mine field, both in what triggers it & what cures it, if anything can

    • Posted

      Yes , that's the problem, trying to pinpoint the trigger (if there was/is one). People  can be in Afib for many different reasons, everyone is different, What sends on person into Afib can have no effect on another person!

      I reckon I've managed to come up with about ten plausable explanations as to why I went back into Afib last Thursday morning, but will probably never know for sure.

  • Posted

    Cardiversion dont last this is just a way of getting your heart back into Synus Rythm & its not good to too many as eventually they may not work, i had 5 in a 2 year period & with the last one they obviously had a problem getting me back into Sinus rythm, they did not tell me anyhing was wrong, but when i came around from the aneasthetic i had burns on my chest which tells me they had several goes before it worked.

    Also "point to point ablation" is whats known commonly as the burning technique, But when doiund an ablation using tjis method or infact the freezing method they dont burn the muscle of your heart [unless its done accidently] the ablation is done on the pulmonary veins, this is  what usually causes the Afib

    • Posted

      Thanks for your I put Greebo. Last week's cardioversion was my third in 13 months. If I Bly need to be put into sinus rhythm once or twice a year, I think a could live with that. If it started happening more frequently than that, I'd have start looking at an ablation I guess.
  • Posted

    I began having atrial fibrillation years ago, but about 3 years ago it started happening more and more frequently requiring emergency room visits to start and intravenous to convert me. I was started on Amiodarone and Metoprolol. I hated the side effects and even taking them for a long time, I still went into a-fib but I auto-converted without the assist of hospital I/V's. Then I was started on Multaq and that has controlled my a-fib for more than 2 years. I recently had a total knee replacement and went into a-fib at him about a week after my surgery. The on-call cardiologist added Metoprolol back. I've just discontinued the Metoprolol since it makes me very fatiqued. I haven't had any more episodes.

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