Ventricular fibrillation causes the heart to beat unevenly and is therefore considered to be one of the most life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances (cardiac arrhythmia). An uneven heartbeat causes the heart to beat out of sync which results in not enough blood being pumped to the rest of the body. This can eventually make the heart stop beating all together (cardiac arrest).
The main symptom of ventricular fibrillation is loss of consciousness (passing out). Earlier symptoms can include chest pain, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, and feeling out of breath.
Causes of ventricular fibrillation include lack of proper blood flow to the heart muscle, problems with the aorta (the main artery of the body that comes from the heart), toxic drugs, and severe body infection. Ventricular fibrillation needs prompt medical attention as it causes blood to stop flowing to important organs.
A person is at higher risk of developing ventricular fibrillation if they have had a previous heart attack, a history of heart condition, or have a history of using certain types of drugs/medications. To find out if a person has ventricular fibrillation doctors may use an EKG to observe the heartbeat, draw blood samples, and use a chest x-ray or other types of scans.
The goal of treatment is to fix blood flow and prevent future arrhythmias. Anti-arrhythmia medication can help control arrhythmias over time, and implantable cardioverter defibrillators can help correct life-threatening arrhythmias as they happen.
If someone you know has symptoms of ventricular fibrillation, you should seek emergency medical help immediately.
Description Last Updated: Sep 03, 2018