[toc]Occurrence of abnormal irregular heart rhythm that has been caused by fluttering, uncoordinated and rapid ventricular contractions is known as Ventricular fibrillation. This fluttering of ventricles (lower chambers of heart) replaces usual heart contractions and puts the pulse beat and heart beat to go out of synch. The pumping chambers of ventricles contract uselessly, without performing any pumping of blood, resulting in drop of blood pressure and cutting off of the oxygen rich blood supply to various organs of the body.
It is a life threatening condition and is commonly linked to scarring of heart muscles from past heart attacks or future possibility of heart attacks. A person with ventricular fibrillation usually collapses within a matter of a few seconds and it will not take long for his/her pulse or breaths to stop.
Early Ventricular Fibrillation Signs And Symptoms
In the early phase of ventricular fibrillation, the patient may show symptoms of nausea, dizziness, tachycardia (accelerated heartbeats), chest pain and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear an hour or more before the heart enters into the ventricular fibrillation state and the patient gets faint.
Loss Of Consciousness
The most prominent sign of ventricular fibrillation is a loss of consciousness, sudden collapse as heart and brain muscles have stopped receiving blood from the heart. Ventricular fibrillation is of much more severe form than atrial fibrillation and can even lead to death as ventricular arrhythmias are highly likely to disrupt the blood pumping and undermine the ability of heart to provide oxygen rich blood to various parts of the body including brain.
Heart beat that may beat either too slow or too fast can result in symptoms of lightheadedness, fatigue, palpitations (fluttering, skipping or chest pounding), fainting spells and breathlessness. But, at times, there may not appear any symptoms at all. If left untreated, it may lead to death.
But all irregular heartbeats are not that life threatening and can be just benign arrhythmias. It is crucial to evaluate the irregular heartbeats to treat the serious forms of irregularities of heart beats, the ventricular fibrillation and avoid loss of life.
Coronary Artery Disease
Ventricular fibrillation is the first expression of development of coronary artery disease (CAD) that contributes to around 50% of deaths in individuals suffering from CAD. Sudden cardiac death accounts for around 300, 00 0 deaths in US per year and out of these 75 to 80% are known to be caused from ventricular fibrillation as per the National Institute of Health (NIH).
With increasing cases of coronary artery diseases, even higher number of deaths can be attributed to ventricular fibrillation in the near future rather than any other serious diseases like AIDS, breast cancer or lung cancer.
Risk Factors For Ventricular Fibrillation
There are various probable factors that increase the likelihood of an individual to suffer from ventricular fibrillation. The major risk factors include cardiomyopathy (disease of heart muscle or myocardium), past heart attack, congenital heart disease, use of methamphetamine or cocaine drugs and injuries or electrocution that may have caused damage to heart muscles. Untreated ventricular tachycardia may also progress further into developing ventricular fibrillation.
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