Ventricular fibrillation is a disorder of the heart rhythm which occurs when the heart beats in quick and inconsistent electrical impulses. Consequently, the ventricles shake pointlessly, instead of pumping blood.
Ventricular fibrillation is an emergency situation which needs immediate medical attention since it makes the person collapse within seconds. It is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death.
Signs and symptoms of ventricular tachycardia are:
- Pain in the chest
- Rapid heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness
Causes Of Ventricular Fibrillation
When the heart beats, electrical impulses which make it contract follow a specific pathway. A disruption in these impulses set off irregular heartbeats.
The heart has 4 chambers. In a heartbeat, the atria contract and fill up the ventricles with blood. The atria contract after the sinus node transmits an electrical impulse which makes both the atria contract.
The impulse then travels to the atrioventricular node, and then to the ventricles, making them to contract and pump blood through the body.
The precise cause of ventricular fibrillation is not always known. The commonest cause is some disruption in the electrical impulses which travel through the heart after the initial heart attack or due to a scar in the cardiac muscle from a preceding heart attack.
Occasionally, ventricular fibrillation starts as a quick heartbeat which is caused by abnormal electrical impulses originating in the ventricles.
By and large, all ventricular fibrillation is associated with some sort of cardiac disorder.
Treatment For Ventricular Fibrillation
The treatment focuses on re-instating the flow of blood through the body as speedily as possible to avert damage to the brain and other vital organs. After the blood flow has been restored through your heart, you need therapy to prevent recurrences.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: Maintains the blood flow through the body by impersonating the pumping action of the heart. You must call for emergency medical aid, and then commence CPR by thrusting hard and fast on his chest; approximately 100 compressions per minute. Let the chest rise between the compressions. Keep up the CPR until a handy defibrillator is obtainable or the emergency medical staff arrives.
- Delivery of an electrical shock to the heart stops the heart and the chaotic rhythm temporarily. It then allows the normal heart rhythm to recommence. Public-use defibrillators distinguish ventricular fibrillation and transmit a shock only when required.
- Your doctor will prescribe an anti-arrhythmic medication for emergency or long-term treatment.
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator: Once the patient is stable, your health care will advise implantation of an ICD, which is a battery-operated device implanted near the left clavicle. The ICD keeps an eye on your heart rhythm all day long. In case of a rhythm which is too slow, it will transmit an electrical impulse that paces the heart as a pacemaker would. In case of ventricular fibrillation, it will send out low- or high-energy impulses to retune the heart to a normal rhythm.
- Coronary angioplasty and stent placement: It is vital for the treatment of severe coronary artery disease. It helps open up occluded coronary arteries, and establishes smooth blood flow to the heart. In case your ventricular fibrillation was due to a heart attack, an angioplasty diminishes the chance of recurrences of ventricular fibrillation.
- Coronary bypass surgery: Improves the flow of blood by sewing veins or arteries in place at an area beyond an occluded coronary artery. This helps enhance the blood supply to the heart and decreases your risk of ventricular fibrillation.