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Ventricular Fibrillation

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by Calvagna M
 

Causes

Causes of ventricular fibrillation include:
 

Treatment

Ventricular fibrillation must be treated as an extreme emergency and treatment must be administered within 4-6 minutes.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

CPR , which begins with giving chest compressions, is a temporary procedure that can help maintain some blood flow to the brain, heart, and other vital organs until trained medical personnel are available to provide more advanced treatment.

Defibrillation

In defibrillation, an electronic device is used to give an electric shock to the heart. The electric shock helps to re-establish the normal contraction rhythms of the heart. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable defibrillation device. Most ambulances carry AEDs. They are also frequently found in many public places, such as sports complexes.
Defibrillation should be done as soon as equipment is available.

Anti-arrhythmic Drugs

Anti-arrhythmic drugs, such as amiodarone , lidocaine , and procainamide , may be given intravenously with continued resuscitation attempts when a person continues to fibrillate.
If the heart’s rhythm is stabilized by defibrillation, anti-arrhythmic drugs can be given to maintain the heart’s rhythm.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can be surgically placed in the chest to help prevent ventricular fibrillation. An ICD continuously monitors the heart’s rhythm. If it detects an abnormal beat, it automatically sends electrical impulses to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.
Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator
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If you are diagnosed with ventricular fibrillation, follow your doctor's instructions .
 

Prevention

If a person is at high risk of ventricular fibrillation, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can be surgically placed in the chest to help stop ventricular fibrillation. In addition, anti-arrhythmic drugs may be given to try to prevent a future episode.
 

RESOURCES

American Heart Association
http://www.americanheart.org

Heart Rhythm Society
http://www.hrsonline.org/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cardiovascular Society
http://www.ccs.ca

National Stroke and Heart Foundation of Canada
http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca

 

References


ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 guidelines for management of patients with ventricular arrhythmias and the prevention of sudden cardiac death. Circulation . 2006;114:e385.


American Heart Association. A new order for CPR, spelled C-A-B. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.newsroom.heart.org/index.php?s=43&item=1139 . Published October 18, 2010. October 21, 2010.


Beers MH, Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy . 17th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; 1999.


Braunwald E, Zipes DP, Libby P. Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Disease . 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2001.


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4479 . Accessed August 7, 2005.


Defibrillation. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4540 . Accessed August 7, 2005.


Marx JA. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice . 5th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc.; 2002.


Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Practice . 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2002.


Risk factors and prevention. Heart Rhythm Society website. Available at: http://hrspatients.org/patients/risk%5Ffactors/default.asp . Accessed August 7, 2005.

 

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