Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is a type of abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia that occurs when the heart's electrical signals become disorganized, leading to rapid and irregular contractions of the ventricles. In VF, the heart muscle quivers or fibrillates, rather than contracting effectively to pump blood to the body.
VF is a serious medical emergency that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death within minutes if not treated promptly. Common causes of VF include coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and electrical abnormalities in the heart.
Symptoms of VF include sudden loss of consciousness, cessation of breathing, and absence of a pulse. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, which delivers an electrical shock to the heart to restore a normal heart rhythm.
In addition to defibrillation, treatment for VF may include medications to help stabilize the heart rhythm, such as anti-arrhythmic drugs or beta-blockers, and interventions to address the underlying cause of the arrhythmia, such as coronary artery bypass surgery or medication to manage heart failure.
Prevention of VF may involve managing risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, as well as seeking prompt medical attention for any symptoms of heart disease or arrhythmia. For individuals at high risk for VF, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) may be recommended to monitor the heart rhythm and deliver an electrical shock if VF occurs.