Current concepts on ventricular fibrillation: a vicious circle of cardiomyocyte calcium overload in the initiation, maintenance and termination of ventricular fibrillation.
Zaugg, Christian E (2004) Current concepts on ventricular fibrillation: a vicious circle of cardiomyocyte calcium overload in the initiation, maintenance and termination of ventricular fibrillation. Indian Pacing and Electrophysiology Journal, 4 (2). pp. 85-92. ISSN 0972-6292
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Based on recent experimental studies, this review article introduces the novel concept that cardiomyocyte Ca2+ and ventricular fibrillation (VF) are mutually related, forming a self-maintaining vicious circle in the initiation, maintenance, and termination of VF. On the one hand, elevated myocyte Ca2+ can cause delayed afterdepolarizations, triggered activity, and consequently life-threatening ventricular tachyarrhythmias in various pathological conditions such as digitalis toxicity, myocardial ischemia, or heart failure. On the other hand, VF itself directly and rapidly causes progressive myocyte Ca2+ overload that maintains VF and renders termination of VF increasingly difficult. Accordingly, energy levels for successful electrical defibrillation (defibrillation thresholds) increase as both VF and Ca2+ overload progress. Furthermore, VF-induced myocyte Ca2+ overload can promote re-induction of VF after defibrillation and/or postfibrillatory myocardial dysfunction (postresuscitation stunning) due to reduced myofilament Ca2+ responsiveness. The probability of these adverse events is best reduced by early detection and rapid termination of VF to prevent or limit Ca2+ overload. Early additional therapy targeting transsarcolemmal Ca2+ entry, particularly during the first 2 min of VF, may partially prevent myocyte Ca2+ overload and thus, increase the likelihood of successful defibrillation as well as prevent postfibrillatory myocardial dysfunction.
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