Introduction: Electrical cardioversion is a therapeutic procedure used to convert various types of arrhythmias back to sinus rhythm. It is used to restore the sinus rhythm in dogs with atrial fibrillation. The effect of the electrical energy used during cardioversion on red blood cells (RBC) is not fully understood. Studies on humans reported lysis of RBC following electrical cardioversion. Similar studies have not been carried out on dogs. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of electrical cardioversion on chosen RBC parameters.
Material and Methods: The study was carried out on 14 large and giant breed dogs weighing from 30 to 84 kg with lone atrial fibrillation (lone AF). Electrical cardioversion was carried out under general anaesthesia by biphasic shock with 70–360 J of energy. Blood was collected at T0 – during atrial fibrillation, prior to cardioversion, and at T1 – 30 min after electrical cardioversion. Complete blood counts as well as total and direct bilirubin concentrations were evaluated. A maximum output of 360 J was used.
Results: In all cases, electrical cardioversion was effective, and no significant changes in the number of RBC and RBC indices were noted. Similarly, there were no statistically significant differences in the levels of total and direct bilirubin.
Conclusion: Electrical cardioversion in dogs led neither to statistically nor clinically significant RBC lysis.