Doctor's Notes on Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) vs. Ventricular Fibrillation (VFib)
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), usually with a very fast heart rate, that is caused by irregular contractions of the upper chambers of the heart (the atria).
- Ventricular fibrillation (VFib) also is a type of abnormal heart rhythm in which the heart rate that is irregular, and usually fast due to irregular contractions of the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).
ECG similarities are usually a rapid irregular tracing.
- In AFib, abnormal p waves precede the QRS signal on the ECG. In VFib, there is a rapid irregular tracing but p waves and the QRS signal are unidentifiable.
- In most ECG's, AFib results in a rapid irregular pulse (QRS signal), while VFib results in no pulse (no clear QRS signal) so the ECG's are quite different.
AFib vs. VFib Causes
- The ECG of AFib is caused by rapid irregular multifocal electrical signals from the atria, some of which get through to the ventricles to allow a heartbeat (evidenced by a QRS).
- VFib is caused by multiple erratic ventricular signals that originate in the ventricles that do not allow the ventricles to contract (evidenced by no QRS signal).
Heart Disease : Test Your Medical IQ QuizQuestion
In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.See Answer
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Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)Atrial fibrillation (AFib) describes a rapid, irregular heart rhythm. The irregular rhythm, or arrhythmia, results from abnormal electrical impulses in the heart. Atrial fibrillation may be treated with medications or surgery. There are many causes of atrial fibrillation, for example, pneumonia, heart disease, alcohol use, and thyroid problems. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include chest pain and/or angina, nausea, dizziness, and heart palpitations. Atrial fibrillation is managed and treated with medication, medical procedures, and surgery.
Chest PainChest pain has a variety of noncardiac and cardiac causes, some of which can be very serious. Signs and symptoms of chest pain may include burning, squeezing, or heaviness in the chest. Atherosclerosis, angina, lung tumors, chest trauma, abdominal pain, and gastric reflux are just a few potential causes of chest pain. Chest pain is diagnosed by taking the patient history and performing a physical exam. Blood work, imaging tests, and an exercise stress test may be ordered. The treatment and prognosis of chest pain depends on the underlying cause.
DizzinessDizziness may be a minor problem, or could be something life-threatening. Causes of dizziness include high blood pressure, low blood pressure, heart problems, conditions of the brain, medications, metabolic conditions, aging, other illnesses or conditions, or psychiatric conditions. Treatment depends upon the cause of the dizziness.
Heart DiseaseCoronary heart disease (CHD) is a group of different types of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease depend on the cause and inclue chest pain or angina, shortness of breath, palpitations, and dizziness. Many conditions causes heart disease, for example, genetics, obesity, high cholesterol, and smoking. Treatment for heart disease depend on the cause and include diet and other lifestyle changes, medications, procedures, and surgery. The prognosis (outlook) and life span for someone with heart disease varies depending on the cause.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)High blood pressure (hypertension) may be present in an individual, without any symptoms. Thus, it is called the "silent killer." Causes of high blood pressure include heart disease, kidney disease, tumors, birth control, alcohol, thyroid dysfunction, and birth control pills.Treatment of high blood pressure is generally through diet, exercise, and medication if necessary.
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Supraventricular TachycardiaSupraventricular tachycardia (SVT, PSVT) is one type of heart rhythm disorder. There are several types of heart diseases included in the PSVT category, for example atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation, sinus tachycardia, and atrial tachycardia. Symptoms may include dizziness, shortness of breath, palpitations (rapid heartbeat), chest pain, and chest tightness. Treatment may include vagal maneuvers, medications, and surgery.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.