Apparatus and method for either manually or automatically initiating the cardioversion of a malfunctioning heart. The apparatus includes a single intravascular catheter electrode system which allows for a much more compact cardioverting system capable of being completely implanted within the patient. The heart function is continuously monitored, and when the function becomes abnormal, the malfunctioning heart is shocked by a voltage of sufficient amplitude to restore the heart to normalcy. If the heart does not return to its normal functions after a given interval, then it is again shocked. Normal heart activity ensures that the shocking mechanism remains inert.