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Ventricular Fibrilliation

Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is a severe arrhythmia causing rapid, erratic electric impulses. It can be life threatening. During VF, blood is not pumped from the heart resulting in sudden cardiac death.

The most common cause of VF is a heart attack. However, VF can occur whenever the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen. Conditions that can lead to VF include:

  • Electrocution accidents or injury to the heart
  • Heart attack or angina
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart surgery
  • Sudden cardiac death
  • Medicines
  • Very high or very low potassium levels in the blood

Signs & Symptoms

The following symptoms can occur shortly before a patient experiences VF:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath


Ventricular fibrillation is always diagnosed in an emergency situation. A Deborah Specialty Physician will know if a patient is in VF based on results from:

  • Heart monitoring
  • Pulse check

To find out what caused ventricular fibrillation, additional tests may be ordered, including:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • Coronary catheterization (angiogram)
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)