Ventricular Fibrillation (VF)
Ventricular Arrhythmia is a fast heartbeat or rhythm in the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart). There are two types of ventricular arrhythmias: ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.
Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) is a rapid, irregular heart rhythm caused by abnormal electrical signals from the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart).
Most cardiac arrest patients suffer from ventricular fibrillation (VF). In patients with this heart rhythm disorder, the heart beats rapidly and irregularly and the ventricles stop pumping.
The only way to restore the heart’s normal rhythm is to immediately deliver an electric shock or sudden cardiac death occurs. We implant a pacemaker-like device--known as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)--near the heart to deliver an electrical impulse to restore a normal rhythm.
ICDs have a 99 percent effective rate and are the most successful therapy to prevent sudden cardiac death in certain high-risk patients.
For over 25 years, implantable defibrillators have been pioneered at Alta Bates Summit, with the first ICD implanted in the San Francisco East Bay area.
Ventricular Arrhythmias and Congestive Heart Failure
Patients with congestive heart failure can develop ventricular arrhythmias as their condition progresses and their heart muscle weakens, often becoming enlarged as it is forced to work harder to supply blood to the body.
Congestive heart failure may also occur in some patients with a normal heart rhythm but who have uncoordinated pumping in the left and right ventricles called dyssynchrony.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) involves using a CRT device or a specialized pacemaker. This device provides biventricular pacing by coordinating the contractions of both the left and right ventricles simultaneously to resynchronize the muscle contraction and improve the efficiency of the weakened heart.
CRT, combined with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), is one of the most successful means of treating congestive heart failure. Together, the cardiac resynchronization device and the ICD prevent congestive heart failure and prolong life.
CRT-D has been pioneered at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center with participation in the first national clinical trial of CRT-D therapy.
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About the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence
At Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, our heart specialists deliver compassionate patient care using leading-edge procedures, to patients living throughout the San Francisco East Bay area. While our cardiac services are located in Berkeley and Oakland, patients come to our heart center from Hayward, Pleasanton, Lafayette, and other East Bay communities as well as from greater California and the United States to seek the best cardiac hospital care available. Our experienced team of top heart and cardiovascular specialists strive to work with each patient to identify the best treatment options for heart and vascular conditions. Whether you need a top heart surgeon (or specialist), a cardiac specialist, a vascular or thoracic surgeon, or one of our best-in-class cardiothoracic specialists - our doctors, nurses and technologists will work with you to strive for the best cardiovascular care for your unique needs. We strive to be the best cardiac hospital not just in the San Francisco East Bay but for every patient who enters our heart center, whether they come from Oakland, Berkeley, or beyond the Bay Area.
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