The Prevention And Treatment Of Ventricular Fibrillation
Despite prevailing beliefs associated with heart disease, there’s no specific age when it may strike. In India, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death among women and men, both young and old and surprisingly it began affecting people in our country, a good 10-15 years earlier than it affects people in the West. While a heart attack is one of the most recognisable effects of heart disease, other serious complications like ventricular fibrillation can also arise, leading to severe life-threatening risks for patients suffering from such disorders.
Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) is a form of cardiac arrhythmia, a condition that causes the heart to beat in an abnormal, rapid rhythm – usually over 300 beats per minute. This can occur in people who have scar tissue from previous heart attacks or a damage of heart muscle due to certain issues in the heart. In a typical bout of ventricular fibrillation, as the lower chamber of the heart experiences palpitations, the body is unable to receive blood, leading to death of the tissues due to lack of oxygen.
Also, with the heart’s distorted electrical activity, the ventricles tend to make rapid quivering movements and thus, instead of beating in a regular rhythm, the heart pumps much lesser blood than it usually does. This could eventually lead to a sudden cardiac arrest, requiring immediate medical attention.
In addition, other complications from ventricular fibrillation could cause a patient to experience a coma, loss Of nerve function, changes in mental function and even death, if proper care is denied on time.
Complications from ventricular fibrillation could cause a patient to experience a coma, loss of nerve function, changes in mental function and even death, if proper care is denied on time
Causes And Symptoms
Ventricular fibrillation is a common cause of cardiac arrest and can lead to sudden deaths. It is most commonly associated with coronary artery disease and occurs due to acute myocardial infarction (MI) or ischemia, or may even occur because of a chronic infarction scar. Although, cases of ventricular fibrillation usually arise in patients already suffering from heart disease, its exact cause is unknown so far. Some of the major symptoms of ventricular fibrillation include fainting, transient dizziness, acute shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, rapid or unrhythmic heart beat, and cardiac arrest.
Diagnosis And Treatment
The diagnosis of ventricular fibrillation involves the doctor checking the patient’s vital signs, such as blood pressure and pulse, which is usually weak or absent in a person suffering from VF. Also, a heart monitor can help doctors read the electrical impulses that cause the irregular rhythm of the heartbeat and detect VF.
Moreover, the knowledge of a patient’s overall medical history and accurate description of the symptoms experienced can help doctors easily identify a case of ventricular fibrillation and mitigate further complications, A stress test is also carried out to understand how the heart works when one exercises. Once VF is detected, the following treatments must be administered to the patient to control the adverse symptoms and prevent fatality.
Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR):
A person experiencing ventricular fibrillation will very likely faint due to the resultant blood loss. Performing CPR is critical to ensuring the patient’s survival as it helps accelerate blood flow to the vital organs.
Defibrillation is the passing of high intensity electric shocks through the body with the help of a device called a defibrillator. This device, by delivering electric shocks to the body, helps alter the signals to the heart muscles, prompting them to pump blood instead of palpitating.
Once the aforementioned steps have been taken to control the effects of VF, the doctor may prescribe medication and even keep the patient under observation to prevent further aggravation.
Even in the absence of the common signs of heart disease, it is important to ensure a fit heart and keep risks of serious complications at bay, with the right combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Heavy smokers suffering from heart disease, or those beginning to experience the symptoms of it, should try to quit the habit, as smoking can severely aggravate existing heart problems or give rise to serious cardiopulmonary disorders.
In addition, maintaining appropriate weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels can also help to prevent cardiovascular diseases and complications such as ventricular fibrillation. Intake of a controlled, balanced and a healthy diet can also prevent VE Staying active for at least 30 minutes a day is important to stay protected from other diseases as well.