Ventricular fibrillation (VF)


This condition can be life-threatening and requires immediate attention to restore your heart to its normal rhythm

About VF

Ventricular fibrillation causes cardiac arrest and is a fatal event unless normal rhythm is quickly restored by a DC shock. It occurs in patients with heart disease such as heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, WPW syndrome or inherited electrical abnormalities.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of ventricular fibrillation?  icon plus

    The symptom of VF is loss of consciousness.
  • Diagnosing VF  icon plus

    Your consultant will first discuss with you your overall health and medical history. After this they may perform some tests, including:

    • asking you for a description of symptoms
    • performing a physical examination of your body
    • checking vital signs, such as your blood pressure and resting pulse rate
    • electrocardiogram to check your heart's rhythm and electrical activity
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    The first response during an episode is cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the form of CPR. This will keep your blood flowing and return your heart to normal rhythm with a DC shock by a defibrillator.

    After resuscitation, a full medical history, physical examination and full investigations of your heart will be made. This will include some or all of an ECG, echocardiogram, Holter monitor, cardiac MRI scan, coronary angiography and an EPS.

    Your consultant may give you medication immediately following an episode to help you control and prevent a recurrence. They may prescribe additional medications to control arrhythmia and reduce your risk. Some drugs for other conditions increase the risk of VF so they may be stopped.

    If, despite treatment, you are considered to be at increased risk of further episodes, you will receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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