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What causes ventricular fibrillation?

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Quick Answer

The most prevalent cause of ventricular fibrillation is a heart attack, notes the United States National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus. It can occur when there is a limited supply of oxygen in the heart muscles. Some conditions that can cause ventricular fibrillation include heart surgery, narrowed coronary arteries, sudden cardiac death, heart muscle disease, injury to the heart and certain medications.

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Full Answer

Ventricular fibrillation, or VF, is a heart condition that occurs when the heart beats are rapid and abnormal, notes Mayo Clinic. This lessens the effectiveness of the ventricles, causing poor pumping of blood. The condition causes blood pressure to decrease, reducing blood supply to essential body organs. A person suffering from ventricular fibrillation can become unconscious or suddenly collapse due to inadequate blood flow to the muscles and the brain from the heart. The symptoms of the condition include nausea, dizziness, chest pain, breath shortness and rapid heartbeat.

This condition is a medical emergency, so it needs immediate care to save a patient's life, notes MedlinePlus. Treatment involves delivering a quick electric shock through the chest using a device known as an external defibrillator. The shock helps to restore the heart pulse to a normal rhythm. People who have a risk for a severe rhythm disorder can have a device called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator implanted in the chest wall.

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