Ventricular fibrillation is a heart rhythm problem that occurs when the heart beats with rapid, erratic electrical impulses. This causes pumping chambers in your heart (the ventricles) to quiver uselessly, instead of pumping blood. During ventricular fibrillation, your blood pressure plummets, cutting off blood supply to your vital organs. Ventricular fibrillation is frequently triggered by a heart attack.

Ventricular fibrillation is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention. A person with ventricular fibrillation will collapse within seconds and soon won't be breathing or have a pulse. Emergency treatment for ventricular fibrillation includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and shocks to the heart with a device called a defibrillator.

Treatments for those at risk of ventricular fibrillation include medications and implantable devices that can restore a normal heart rhythm.

Nov. 01, 2011

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