Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Card Anaesth. 2019 Apr-Jun;22(2):113-121. doi: 10.4103/aca.ACA_72_18.

Propofol for sedation for direct current cardioversion.

Author information

Medical Sciences Faculty, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Evandro Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Direct current cardioversion is a low-risk and standard procedure to restore normal sinus rhythm in patients with tachyarrhythmias. It requires sedation to facilitate the procedure, as it is painful and distressful. The preferred anesthetic drug must be short acting, producing conscious sedation, to enable rapid recovery after the procedure. In this sense, this narrative review focuses on the critical analysis of recent randomized studies and presents about the safety and effectiveness of propofol, comparing it with other established sedatives, mainly etomidate and midazolam. The research was performed on MEDLINE database with Propofol and Cardioversion keywords. In most cases, propofol comes to be the best option, with a quick recovery time and low rates of side effects. Different studies have demonstrated no inferiority when comparing to other drugs and, when these adverse events happened, they were easily and quickly handled. Exceptions in this scenario are those patients, particularly the elderly, with baseline important structural heart disease, in which etomidate with fentanyl has been pointed to lead to better hemodynamic stability.


Anesthesia; atrial fibrillation; cardioversion; etomidate; midazolam; propofol; sedation

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Medknow Publications and Media Pvt Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center