Ventricular Fibrillation

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ventricular fibrillation is the chaotic asynchronous contraction of the ventricular myocardium (heart muscle). To put it in other words, it is a turbulent, disorganized electrical activity of the heart that makes the myocardium quivers rather than contract properly and rhythmically. When ventricular fibrillation occurs, the recorded electrocardiographic deflections continuously change in shape, magnitude and direction. Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency that requires prompt Basic Life Support interventions because should the arrhythmia continue for more than a few seconds, it will likely degenerate further into asystole. The most common cause of ventricular fibrillation is a myocardial infarction. It can also occur whenever the heart does not get enough oxygen. Conditions that can lead to ventricular fibrillation include: electrocution accidents or injury to the heart, heart muscle disease, surgery, ischemia, etc.

The ventricular muscle twitches randomly, rather than contracting in a coordinated fashion, and so the ventricles fail to pump blood into the arteries and into systemic circulation. Ventricular fibrillation is a sudden lethal arrhythmia responsible for many deaths in the Western world, mostly brought on by ischemic heart disease. Despite much work, the underlying nature of fibrillation is not completely understood. Most episodes of fibrillation occur in diseased hearts, but others occur in so-called normal hearts. Much work still has to be done to elucidate the mechanisms of ventricular fibrillation.

Ventricular Fibrillation Video