Ventricular Fibrillation vs Ventricular Tachycardia

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Monitors which present the two conditions-Ventricular Fibrillation and Ventricular Tachycardia

Introduction

Cardiac death – a condition most people are aware of. However, there’s an array of reasons behind this condition that ultimately puts an end to life. Ventricular Fibrillation is a prime cause. The disorder highlights disturbance and agitation in the cardiac rhythm.
Every person versed about the very basic human biology is aware that a heart has four chambers – two atria and two ventricles. Convulsion in the lower ventricle, owing to the impact of disturbed electrical impulses results in an ugly outcome. The heart stops pumping any blood to the body causing cardiac arrest.

Learning about ventricular tachycardia is equally important. The condition might appear very similar to ventricular fibrillation but is very different in reality. We are all schooled that atria or the top chambers of the heart receive blood from the body that seriously lacks oxygen and pump it to the lower chambers, known as ventricles. When the rhythm triggers up, the process starts malfunctioning and there’s a sudden hike in the pulse. Counts go up to a hundred beats per minute. Topping it off, there are at least three irregular heartbeats noted. Wondering what’s the results of these faults? Well, the ventricles fail to get filled with enough blood before the heart starts contracting. This obviously leads to a cut-back of oxygen-rich blood in the body that the heart pumps out. Wondering whether it’s deathly? No, ventricular tachycardia can cause dizziness and lightheadedness. However, this does pave way for ventricular fibrillation which obviously causes death.

Life-threatening or not, gaining insight on how these disorders work is of great importance.

Ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia – how it works?

There’s no doubt that electrical impulses and activities in the heart play a pivotal role in both these conditions. Ventricular fibrillation is chiefly a heart rhythm problem.
The condition pops up when the heart starts beating at a breakneck pace followed by unstable electrical impulses. It is due to a slackened functional role of the pumping chambers in the hearts (ventricles) that quivers instead of pumping blood. Describing ventricular fibrillation as an emergency that requires immediate medical help is correct.
It drops-down blood pressure in the system, cutting off blood transportation to all vital organs in the body. Result? Cardiac arrest and immediate death.

Ventricular tachycardia, on the other hand, is also a heart rhythm disorder or arrhythmia. As mentioned previously, the disorder is also an impact of disturbed electrical impulses in the lower chambers of the organ. The impulses or electrical signals are transported through heart tissues in the heart. Normally, a heart would beat 60-100 times a minute. However, when putting up with ventricular tachycardia, the heart would beat unusually fast, more than 100 beats a minute and the rhythm will be completely out of sync. This does cut-down the heart’s ability to pump out blood to the body and the lungs. The condition casts an impact for a brief period that lasts just for a couple of seconds.

What causes ventricular fibrillation?

It has been witnessed repeatedly that patients having encountered cardiac arrest earlier are more prone to ventricular fibrillation. The heart muscle might wear out from a previous attack causing damage more than anticipated.

  • The condition springs up due to a dearth of blood flow to the heart muscles.
  • If there are issues with the aorta in the organ.
  • Sepsis, especially when infections spread out in the whole body.
  • Toxic reactions to drugs.
  • Cardiomyopathy.

Ventricular Tachycardia – Common Causes

  • Prolonged structural heart disease cause due to previous attacks.
  • Weakened heart muscles.
  • Ischemic heart disorder triggered due to the shortage of blood flow to the organ.
  • Serious consequences of heart failure– The condition bars the heart from pumping out little or any blood in the system
  • Ventricular tachycardia could be an inherited condition, passed down from one generation to the other.
  • Overuse of alcohol and caffeine.
  • Unwanted side-effects of toxic drugs and medications.

How to figure out ventricular tachycardia?

Since both ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia are characterized by similar causes and effects, there’s a pressing need to learn ways to spot ventricular tachycardia and put an end to it.

  1. Keep a check on the duration of the effects.
  2. Pay close attention to the heartbeat pattern or morphology.
  3. How worse has the condition cast an impact on the heart’s ability to pump out blood?
    As per science, it is termed as a hemodynamic effect.

Learning about the types of ventricular tachycardia is of great importance too.

The sustained type – a condition that lasts for more than 30 seconds and slackens blood flow.

Non-sustained Type – When no impacts of reduced blood flow are witnessed, and the condition comes to a halt spontaneously.

Polymorphic – A condition wherein the heartbeat varies.

Monomorphic – Instances when every heartbeat resembles the next one.

Symptoms to keep tabs on:

Ventricular fibrillation can cause serious outcomes and needs to be nipped in the bud right away. So, here’s how you can keep a check on these symptoms and refer to a doctor for immediate help.

  1. Lingering chest pain.
  2. Dizziness and nausea.
  3. Shortness of breath.
  4. Losing consciousness.
  5. Abnormally rapid heartbeat.
  6. A cut-back in responsiveness.

Ventricular tachycardia is starred with almost similar symptoms. Apart from chest pain and the tendency of fainting, a patient might also put up with seizures under such consequences. Palpitations or surreal rapid heartbeats sum up as one of the major symptoms of the condition.

Diagnosis procedures of ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation:

Post performing a thorough examination and physical tests, doctors ask about the symptoms noticed. Obviously, the pulse and pressure of the patient are monitored. If the patient is suspected of being targeted with ventricular tachycardia, an electrocardiogram test to keep tabs on the electrical activity of the heart will be performed. A cardiac MRI and the very intense Transesophageal echocardiography using ultrasound will be suggested too. Oral antiarrhythmic drugs are prescribed to cure the condition over time. However, electric defibrillation, shock, and CPR are prescribed as immediate help to restore the patient’s well-being in serious condition. Precordial thump steps up as a mechanical alternative to defibrillation. Radio-frequency ablation where radio rays are induced to destroy abnormal tissues causing the heart to beat out of sync. Lastly, therapies of cardia-resynchronization are carried out to regulate heartbeat.