What is Ventricular Fibrillation?
What is Ventricular Fibrillation? Ventricular fibrillation is a heart rhythm disorder, in which the heart will beat very rapidly. This is triggered by a disturbance in the electrical impulse in the heart, so the heart chamber (ventricle) vibrates uncontrollably. As a result, the heart is unable to perform its function to pump blood throughout the body, and eventually the blood and oxygen forces in the vital organs of the body will stop. This condition is a medical condition that must be treated immediately because the sufferer can lose consciousness in just seconds.
Ventricular fibrillation is the most common type of abnormality in heart attack cases, and is also the most common cause of sudden cardiac death. Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or the provision of a heart defibrillator called a defibrillator is the first medical relief action that can be used to treat this condition.
The incidence of ventricular fibrillation will increase as the number of cases of ischemic heart attack increases. Adults aged 45-75 years are the most age groups who experience this disorder.
Causes of Ventricular Fibrillation
A person’s heart pulsation is influenced by electrical impulses (impulses). Any interruption that occurs in the process of electricity delivery will cause the heart rhythm becomes irregular.
In some cases, electrical stimulation is impaired due to a heart attack or scarring of the heart muscle. This power failure causes the heart chamber (ventricle) to move very quickly, or so-called ventricular tachycardia. Ventricular tachycardia that is not immediately addressed will lead to more severe conditions, ventricular fibrillation .
When ventricular fibrillation occurs, the two heart chambers that are at the bottom become unable to pump blood properly so that the blood pressure goes down and can not flow properly throughout the body. As mentioned above, this condition also affects the blood pressure of the sufferer and the intake of blood and oxygen for vital organs.
In addition to a history of sudden cardiac arrest, the following factors may also increase a person’s risk for ventricular fibrillation, including:
- Congenital heart disease
- Never had ventricular fibrillation before
- Abnormalities in the heart muscle
- Use of illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine
- Abnormalities in electrolytes present in the body, such as magnesium and potassium.
- This disease is most often experienced by people in the age range 45-75 years.
- Injuries that cause damage to the heart muscle, for example due to electric shock.
Symptoms of Ventricular Fibrillation
Loss of consciousness is the most common symptom of this condition.
Since ventricular fibrillation is often preceded by ventricular tachycardia, the symptoms of ventricular tachycardia also need to be noticed and alert. Some symptoms of ventricular tachycardia include:
- Very fast heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Missing awareness
If you encounter any condition with any of the above symptoms, contact an ambulance or other emergency number as soon as possible. The above symptoms can last up to an hour or less before the patient eventually passes out or loses consciousness. Check the pulse of the patient and immediately resuscitate the pulmonary heart or CPR if you do not find a pulse while waiting for medical personnel to arrive at the site. Portable defibrillator can then be used to trigger the heart beats again.
Diagnosis of Ventricular Fibrillation
Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency that will be detected through a pulse or cardiac monitoring device. Heart rate of ventricular fibrillation sufferers will not be palpable, and the results of the heart monitor will show the heart’s electrical movement is very fast, or even not moving at all.
Additional tests will then be performed to find out what causes ventricular fibrillation, including:
- Blood tests – To check the leakage of cardiac enzymes into the blood caused by heart damage from heart attacks.
- Electrocardiogram – For recording and checking heart electrical impulses. The damaged heart will show an abnormal electrical impulse indicating a heart attack.
- Echocardiogram – To get a picture of the heart through sound waves.
- Angiogram – To know if there is a blockage in the blood vessels that go to the heart (coronary) by injecting a special dye into a catheter that is mounted from the foot to the heart. The journey of the substance in the blood vessels will be seen through X-rays.
- Chest X-ray – To get a picture of heart, size, and blood vessels.
- CT or MRI scan – To check if there are other disorders of the heart through a clearer picture of the heart.
Treatment of Ventricular Fibrillation
Treatment of ventricular fibrillation is divided into two types, namely emergency care and treatment performed to prevent attacks from recurring. This treatment is focused on keeping blood flowing throughout the body and avoid damage to the brain or other organs, and to prevent other ventricular fibrillation attacks.
Treatment of ventricular fibrillation in emergency conditions consists of two kinds of treatment, namely:
- Provision of cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR that will mimic the movement of heart pumping for blood flow throughout the body is maintained. For people who have not received CPR training, you can put pressure on the chest (compression) as much as 100 times per minute by hand. Do this until the heart shock device (defibrillator) arrives at the scene.
- Defibrillation or use a heart defibrillator that will deliver electrical waves to the chest and heart to restore the heartbeat to a regular rhythm.
Treatment of ventricular fibrillation aimed at preventing further attacks may be recommended in cases of ventricular fibrillation caused by scarring due to a heart attack, or changes in heart structure. The doctor may prescribe drugs or suggest specific procedures, which will be outlined below.
- Antiarrhythmic drugs and beta blockers may be given for long-term treatment as well as emergency conditions for ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest.
- Planting a tool to help restore the heart rhythm to a condition that is considered normal may be recommended by the doctor after the patient’s condition has stabilized. This procedure will be more effective in preventing fatal arrhythmias than the administration of drugs. A device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) will monitor the patient’s heart rhythm and transmit low or high electrical power when the heart’s rhythm begins to beat abnormally.
- Coronary angioplasty to open blocked blood vessels and keep them open by placing a catheter tube with a balloon at the end so that blood can flow smoothly to the heart. This procedure is performed in cases of ventricular fibrillation caused by heart attack as well as to reduce the risk of further attacks.
- Heart bypass surgery that aims to restore blood flow to the heart by making blood vessel channels With the smooth supply of blood to the heart, the risk for subsequent ventricular fibrillation will also be reduced.
Some of the following complications may occur in patients with ventricular fibrillation, namely:
- Ischemic injury to the central nervous system
- Skin burns from defibrillation procedure
- Injuries due to CPR procedures
Prevention of Ventricular Fibrillation
Starting a healthy lifestyle can help you maintain a heart condition and avoid ventricular fibrillation and heart attacks that can lead to death. Start doing some changes to your lifestyle with the following steps:
- Start a healthy and balanced diet
- Maintain weight to stay within normal limits, according to body mass index (BMI)
- Quit smoking
- Stay active moving, for example by walking for 30 minutes every day.