Ventricular Fibrillation (VF)
Ventricular Fibrillation, VF, occurs when disorganized electrical signals make the ventricles quiver instead of pump normally. Without the ventricles pumping blood out to the body, you'll lose consciousness within seconds and die within minutes if not treated.
To prevent death, the condition must be treated right away with an electric shock to the heart called defibrillation.
Ventricular fibrillation or VF may happen during or after a heart attack or in someone whose heart is already weak because of another condition. Health experts think that most of the sudden cardiac deaths that occur every year (about 335,000) are due to ventricular fibrillation.
Torsades de pointes (torsades) is a type of ventricular fibrillation/ VF that causes a unique pattern on an EKG (electrocardiogram). Certain medicines or imbalanced amounts of potassium, calcium, or magnesium in the bloodstream can cause this condition.
People who have long QT syndrome are at higher risk for torsades. People who have this condition need to be careful about taking certain antibiotics, heart medicines, and over-the-counter medicines.