Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Ventricular Fibrillation Overview

A person with ventricular fibrillation has a severely abnormal heart rhythm that is life threatening. Ventricular fibrillation is most commonly a direct complication of a heart attack. During ventricular fibrillation, the heart beats in a disorganized fashion due to rapid erratic impulses inside the ventricles. During ventricular fibrillation there is no effective pumping of blood so unconsciousness (and death) soon follows.

What are the symptoms of ventricular fibrillation?
The symptoms of ventricular fibrillation include chest pain, dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. Other symptoms of severe ventricular fibrillation may include a sudden collapse or loss of consciousness.

How does the doctor treat ventricular fibrillation?
The treatment of ventricular fibrillation is emergent electrical defibrillation. In this procedure, the heart is subjected to a sudden discharge of electricity in an attempt to get the heart to re-set to a normal sinus rhythm.

Continue to Ventricular Fibrillation Symptoms

Last Updated: May 14, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ventricular Fibrillation References
  1. Rubart M, Zipes DP. Mechanisms of sudden cardiac death. J Clin Invest. 2005 Sep;115(9):2305-15. [16138184]
  2. Schaer B, Kuhne M, Koller MT, Sticherling C, Osswald S. Therapy with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in patients with coronary artery disease and dilated cardiomyopathy: benefits and disadvantages. Swiss Med Wkly. 2009 Nov 14;139(45-46):647-53. [19950031]
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