Problems with the heart rhythm are becoming more common and can lead to real problems. Especially when the heart goes into ventricular fibrillation. In the worst case, this can lead to a quick death. But what exactly is ventricular fibrillation? And what can you do about it? Here’s the answer!
Ventricular fibrillation is the most dangerous type of cardiac arrhythmia. Cardiac arrhythmias are not unusual and can happen to people at any time. There are different Causes for this.
When cardiac arrhythmias occur, the person affected feels unwell and experiences various Symptoms. Cardiac arrhythmias can occur to varying degrees. Normally, the human heart beats about 60 to 90 times per minute. But there are also differences between gender and age. In women, the heart usually beats a little faster than in men.
The following differences occur with a resting heart rate (beats/minute):
- Babies: between 120 and 140
- Infants: between 100 and 120
- Adolescents: between 80 and 100
- Adults: between 60 and 80
For seniors, the resting pulse can also be somewhat higher than 60 to 80. While in an adult the heart beats between 60 and 80 times per minute, in ventricular fibrillation the value is much higher. The value is around 300 heartbeats per minute, which is so high that the heart can no longer pump blood. As a result, no more blood enters the bloodstream and cardiovascular arrest occurs.
Difference compared to atrial fibrillation
People often confuse ventricular fibrillation with atrial fibrillation. Although it sounds very similar, it is actually not the same. In ventricular fibrillation, the heart is no longer able to pump blood into the bloodstream. This causes the heart to stop and resuscitation measures have to be taken immediately.
In atrial fibrillation, on the other hand, there is no direct cardiac arrest. Instead, atrial fibrillation can lead to further damage to the body. Basically, atrial fibrillation causes blood clots, which can then lead to further heart disease or even a stroke.
Thus, the chance of survival is much lower with ventricular fibrillation than with atrial fibrillation. In any case, those affected are dependent on first aid. However, the procedure for atrial fibrillation is different from that for ventricular fibrillation. Learn more about First aid instructions for ventricular fibrillation.
The possible causes of ventricular fibrillation can be very different. The most common cause of ventricular fibrillation is heart disease. But there are still cases where the cause cannot really be determined. Or where a pre-existing condition has not yet been detected. So even people who make a healthy impression can suddenly be affected by ventricular fibrillation.
The most common causes are:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Heart defects
- Coronary heart disease
- Congenital heart defects
- Gastric deficiency
- Potassium deficiency
The symptoms of ventricular fibrillation are relatively clear and recognisable. The symptoms are also different from those of atrial fibrillation. In atrial fibrillation, victims are conscious and complain of other symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath.
In ventricular fibrillation, on the other hand, the victim suddenly faints. Before this happens, the affected person usually gives a sigh or a slight groan. The victim then lies unconscious and unresponsive on the floor. Breathing then stops and a pulse can no longer be detected. If this is the case, first aid must be given immediately. Otherwise, ventricular fibrillation will lead to the rapid death of the person affected.
What to do in case of ventricular fibrillation?
If ventricular fibrillation occurs, you should immediately start cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Detailed instructions for cardiopulmonary resuscitation can be found right here.
In addition to resuscitation measures, the use of a defibrillator can also be helpful. If such a device is available nearby, you should not be afraid to use it. A comprehensive explanation is usually available at the location of the defibrillator. In addition, many buildings and facilities are now equipped with a defibrillator. Staff at places such as airports or railway stations are also usually trained in the use of the devices.
In addition to fast first aid, ventricular fibrillation also requires fast and professional medical help. With an emergency app, such as the TarisApp, medically trained passers-by in the immediate proximity can be quickly asked for help. This means that even in the case of ventricular fibrillation, a trained doctor or a trained first aider in the immediate vicinity can help quickly.
Did you know?
After dialling the emergency number, it can take up to 15 minutes on average for the emergency services to arrive
Preventing ventricular fibrillation
Ventricular fibrillation can be prevented by regular check-ups with a doctor or by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Preventive medical examinations can, for example, diagnose pre-existing heart conditions that could trigger ventricular fibrillation. By diagnosing and then treating the pre-existing heart condition, the risk of ventricular fibrillation can be minimised.
A healthy and balanced diet is very important, especially for the quality of life and the body. It is especially important for minimising the risk of heart disease. A healthy and balanced diet can also be supported by regular exercise. Sporting activities can strengthen the body and protect against pre-diseases.
The risk of ventricular fibrillation automatically increases with age. For this reason, older people should always check their blood pressure themselves. This can be done with a blood pressure monitor, for example. If the values are abnormal, a doctor can be consulted.
- Recognising a heart attack: What do you have to look out for?
- Heart failure: What you need to know about heart disease!
- Anatomy of the heart: how does our heart really work?
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