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Ventricular Fibrillation : Amiodarone Hydrochloride Vs. Lidocaine

Definition

Ventricular fibrillation (V-fib or VF) is a condition in which there is uncoordinated contraction of the cardiac muscle of the ventricles in the heart, making them quiver rather than contract properly. While there is activity, perhaps best described as "writhing like a can filled with worms" it is undetectable by palpation (feeling) at major pulse points of the carotid and femoral arteries especially by the lay person. Such an arrhythmia is only confirmed by electrocardiography. Ventricular fibrillation is a medical emergency that requires prompt BLS/ACLS interventions because should the arrhythmia continue for more than a few seconds, it will likely degenerate further into asystole (a flat ECG indicating no cardiac electrical activity- which is usually not responsive to therapy unless there is still some residual fine VF rhythm left or the patient is otherwise fortunate and cardiac electrical activity recurs). The condition results in cardiogenic shock, cessation of effective blood circulation, and sudden cardiac death (SCD) will result in a matter of minutes. If however the patient is revived after a sufficient period (at room temperature, roughly 5 minutes) of cerebral hypoxia, the patient could sustain irreversible brain damage and possibly be left brain dead (death often occurs if normal sinus rhythm is not restored within 90 seconds of the onset of VF, especially if it has degenerated further into asystole).

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