Atrial fibrillation (AFib) and ventricular fibrillation (VFib) are arrhythmias, or when the heart beats abnormally. AFib affects the upper parts of the heart (atria). VFib affects the lower parts of the heart (ventricles).
AFib and VFib have several symptoms in common. However, VFib is more serious.
This article looks at the similarities and differences between AFib and VFib. It explains what they are and their effects on the body.
The article also examines the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and outlook for AFib and VFib.
According to the
In people with AFib, the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly. These are the atria. When the atria beat in this way, there is not enough blood leaving this part of the heart. This can make blood pool within them, causing blood clots.
VFib is when a person’s lower chambers of the heart, or ventricles, quiver instead of beat. When they quiver, the heart cannot pump blood around the body. This
Both AFib and VFib arise due to distorted electrical activity in parts of the heart. They are forms of arrhythmia.
The main difference between them is that AFib affects the atria, while VFib affects the ventricles.
Is one more serious than the other?
According to a
AFib can cause:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- difficulties breathing
- swelling of the arms or feet
Those with AFib can experience symptoms for
In contrast, those experiencing VFib will likely experience symptoms immediately. A person may:
- suddenly collapse
- stop breathing
- lose consciousness
- have no pulse
Treatments for AFib and VFib aim to stabilize the person and address the underlying cause.
Doctors can treat AFib by prescribing medications to regulate a person’s heart rate. These include:
They can also perform procedures to bring a person’s heart rate back to normal rhythm, such as synchronized cardioversion or ablation.
Treatments for acute VFib focus on treating a heart attack. These
- medications, including lidocaine and amiodarone
A person with AFib
The outlook for a person with AFib depends on individual factors.
While individuals with AFib may be asymptomatic, other people may experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and difficulties breathing.
According to the
If not managed, AFib may lead to lead to severe complications, including VFib. VFib can transform into cardiac arrest.
Outlook for VFib may depend on how quickly an individual receives treatment. According to additional
Doctors diagnose AFib and VFib by analyzing their person’s symptoms while running an electrocardiogram (EKG) test.
This test uses a particular machine to record the electrical activity of a person’s heart. The EKG test can pick up on unusual heart rhythms.
The following pictures show how EKGs can produce different patterns for AFib and VFib.
The following are frequently asked questions about AFib and VFib.
Can AFib turn into VFib?
People with AFib are roughly
Can you have AFib and VFib at the same time?
Atrial fibrillation vs. flutter
AFib is when the atria beat irregularly, whereas atrial flutter is when the atria beat too quickly.
VFib vs. ventricular tachycardia
VFib is when the ventricles quiver. In ventricular tachycardia, they beat too quickly.
AFib is when the upper chambers of the heart beat with an irregular rhythm. VFib is when the lower chambers of the heart quiver instead of beating. Both conditions are forms of arrhythmia.
AFib can sometimes transform into VFib. VFib is a severe condition that can quickly cause a heart attack. However, AFib is also serious, as it can increase the likelihood of stroke.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of both conditions.