Any condition of the heart should be taken seriously, as heart conditions can cause very serious damage to the body, especially if not treated quickly and adequately. While all heart abnormalities should be treated as quickly as possible, it is important to understand the differences between atrial fibrillation and ventricular fibrillation, and one condition is much more severe and urgent than the other. With this knowledge, both conditions can be adequately treated and managed, preventing permanent damage to the body and possibly preventing death.
Atrial Fibrillation vs. Ventricular Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is a disorder of the heart which results from inharmonious paces of the atria and ventricles. The contraction and relaxation of the heart chambers happens at abnormal rates and this therefore makes the pumping of blood strenuous and difficult.
Ventricular fibrillation, on the other hand, is a condition of the heart in which the rhythm of the heart beats is irregular and the heart electrical impulses are erratic. This is an extremely serious condition which can easily be life threatening if not treated early. If not treated immediately, ventricular fibrillation may cause a lack of blood being pumped to the important areas of the body, which may cause permanent damage and even death.
Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, affects the upper chambers known as the auricles of the heart, while ventricular fibrillation affects the lower chambers of the heart called ventricles.
Comparison between the Causes of AFib and Ventricular Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation normally results due to the following:
- Poor lifestyle choices, such as excessive smoking and intake of alcohol or caffeine from drinks such as tea or coffee
- High blood pressure
- Presences of other chronic illnesses, such as thyroid problems, asthma, atherosclerosis, or angina also increase the chances of getting AFib
Ventricular fibrillation is caused by the following:
- Heart attacks
- Congenital heart disease
- Coronary arteries with very narrow lumens
- Incidents of electric shock
- Injury to the heart
- Insufficient oxygen within the heart muscles
Clearly, the causes of ventricular fibrillation are much more serious than those of atrial fibrillation. Therefore, it is clear that ventricular fibrillation is a much more severe condition than atrial fibrillation, and ventricular fibrillation has the potential to cause much more damage. Ventricular fibrillation prevents blood from being pumped to the entire body, potentially causing permanent damage and even death.
What are the Symptoms of AFib and Ventricular Fibrillation?
Some of the symptoms of the conditions are similar. These similar symptoms include the following:
However, there are other symptoms that are different, depending on which condition affects your health. A person with AFib will also experience palpitation, while someone with ventricular fibrillation will experience nausea, and they may collapse soon after having the symptoms due to the lack of adequate pumping of the heart, which causes a lack of blood in the brain and elsewhere in the body.
It is important to be sure that you know which condition is affecting you, because ventricular fibrillation can easily and quickly cause damage. If you are unsure, see a doctor immediately, preferably at an Emergency Room (ER).
What are Some of the Treatment Options Available for Both Conditions?
Atrial fibrillation is not as severe as ventricle fibrillation; hence, it is simpler to deal with it. The treatment options here are dependent on the symptoms you show, your age, and if you have any chronic illnesses or another heart condition. Treatments may include:
- Taking drugs to control the disease or to reduce the risks of getting a stroke. They help by restoring a normal heart rhythm or controlling the rate of the heart beats.
- Electric shock treatment (cardio version) to try and return the heart beats back to a normal rhythm
- A pacemaker can also be fitted to keep your heart’s pace in check
Ventricular fibrillation, on the other hand, is a medical emergency, and it should be dealt with as quickly as possible. It can easily lead to death if not attended to immediately. When a person is affected, he/she collapses and he/she may even go into cardiac arrest. Therefore, it is important to receive immediate emergency medical care when dealing with ventricular fibrillation.
In correcting ventricular fibrillation:
- A device known as an external defibrillator is used to deliver electric shock quickly through the chest so as to normalize the heartbeat rhythm.
- An ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) can also be implanted on the chest. This device detects any abnormal heart rhythm and quickly sends electric shocks to correct it before it gets worse.
Prevention of Atrial Fibrillation and Ventricular Fibrillation
- Ensure blood pressure is within a normal range
- Quit smoking
- Accomplish and maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine
- Make sure cholesterol levels are within a healthy range
- Eat a healthy diet
- Make sure other conditions are managed, including obesity and diabetes
- Provide the body with adequate exercise, as recommended by a doctor
The Bottom Line
Both conditions affect the heart and they should be treated as soon as possible. The heart is an important organ and, should complications arise, it can result in heart failure and sudden death. Therefore, if any abnormalities are shown, visit a doctor immediately.
Any heart condition should be considered fairly serious. Always talk to a doctor as soon as possible if you notice potential abnormalities. Because some of the symptoms of ventricular fibrillation are the same as those of atrial fibrillation, it is important to be aware of the significant differences. If you are unsure, emergency medical care may be necessary immediately, so do not hesitate to get to a doctor immediately. Ventricular fibrillation prevents adequate amounts of blood from being pumped through the body, causing permanent consequences.
While both conditions can affect essentially anybody, it is important to take steps to prevent these conditions from occurring. Any way to prevent a condition should be attempted, because treatment may not completely fix the issue, and damage may have already occurred after a condition has presented itself.