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A 30-year-old member asked:

does atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response cause ventricular fibrillation?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Fenster
Cardiology 31 years experience
Rarely: In rare settings where the usual conduction pathway is not in place atrial fibrillation (af) can lead to ventricular fibrillation (vf) . For example, in WPW an abnormal tract of tissue can conduct impulses directly from the atrium to the ventricle. In rapid af with WPW this abnormal pathway can allow these impulses into the ventricles and cause vf. In af thru a normal av node this will not occur.
Dr. John Garner
Cardiology 16 years experience
Only in a Very Few: Generally, the answer to this is a very solid "no." this is a rare complication of people with another condition (on top of their afib) called wolff-parkinson-white syndrome (or wpw). In certain patients having both conditions, the top chamber is too-well connected to the bottom and can trigger ventricular fibrillation.

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A 44-year-old member asked:

What is worse: ventricular fibrillation or atrial fibrillation?

3 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Fenster
Cardiology 31 years experience
Ventricular fib: Atrial fibrillation (af) in rare instances can be a life threatening condition. However, many thousands of people each day remain in af without any limitations as long as their symptoms and risks are addressed. Ventricular fibrillation (vf) on the other hand if not treated immediately (usually by elecetrical defibrillation) is almost always uniformly fatal.
A 38-year-old member asked:

Atrial fibrillation versus ventricular fibrillation. Causes and cures?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Howard Rubin
Cardiology 47 years experience
VF vs AF: Ventricular is lethal instantly. A fib is not lethal and treated with medications or ablation.
A 36-year-old member asked:

Can atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular beat cause ventricular fibrillation?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Jason Rubenstein
Cardiology 20 years experience
Not usually: Not typically; however, if you also have an accessory pathway (wolff-parkinson-white syndrome), this is a unique situation where af is known to cause very rapid ventricular activation during af, which can lead to vf. Rapid ventricular response may cause cardiac weakening over time, which in turn may increase the risk of vf.
A 44-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between atrial fibrillation and ventricular fibrillation?

1 doctor answer5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jason Rubenstein
Cardiology 20 years experience
It depends: Ventricular fibrillation is from the bottom chamber; vf is worse; it usually causes cardiac arrest which is often fatal. Atrial fibrillation - from the top chamber- while not as severe, also has significant health risks. It increases the risk of stroke, which can be disabling or fatal.
Dr. Bennett Werner
Cardiology 44 years experience
I certainly agree with Dr. Rubenstein, but let's be clear: while they sound alike, the 2 rhythms are worlds apart. VF is the terminal rhythm in the majority of people who die with any form of heart disease and is fatal in about 2 minutes.. AF is treatable - one can live with it comfortably for decades and avoid strokes by taking appropriate anti-coagulant ("blood thinning") medication.
Nov 26, 2013
A 29-year-old member asked:

What makes atrial fibrillation not immediately life threatening while ventricular fibrillation is?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Rick Koch
Dr. Rick Koch answered
Cardiology 22 years experience
AV node : Afib has the protection of the av node which is electrical relay station between the artia and ventricles which slows conduction and limits rate of signals to the ventricles. With vfib no protection exists.

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