Sunday, January 15, 2006

ventricular fibrillation

Ventricular fibrillation is a cardiac arrhythmia in which the ventricles twitch and there are no recognizable waves on the ECG tracing. Ventricular fibrillation is seen with electrocution, drowning, drug toxicity, and most often myocardial infarction. The prevalence of ventricular arrhythmias increase with age. Arrhythmias are also more serious in elderly because they may further compromise vital organs whose intrinsic function has been reduced by aging and disease.
Symptoms of ventricular fibrillation include no blood pressure, pulse, or audible heart beat and respirations that quickly cease.
Ventricular fibrillation is a fatal arrhythmia that must be treated immediately. Treatment involves instituting CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), defibrillation (using electric shock to the heart to stop the rapid contractions), and administering epinephrine, sodium bicarbonate, and isoproterenol (Isuprel). The most effective treatment for ventricular fibrillation is defibrillation. CPR should be given immediately before and after defibrillation and should never be stopped for longer than five seconds, until the medication begins to take effect.
See also ARRHYTHMIAS, CARDIAC.
Phipps, W. J., et al. Medical Surgical Nursing. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1983.
Scherer, J. C. Introductory Medical-Surgical Nursing. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1982.

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