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What Is Ventricular Fibrillation? Doctors Save BESCOM Worker From Death By Electrocution

A 26-year-old BESCOM lineman, while working Devarabeesanahalli in Bengaluru was accidentally electrocuted and was brought to the Sakra World Hospital Emergency by his colleagues and the police on the morning of 2 December 2022. There was no heartbeat when he arrived at the emergency department. His heart was affected by an abnormal rhythm called Ventricular Fibrillation, where the electrical activity of the heart becomes erratic and uncontrolled, and the heart muscle fails to contract with its usual synchrony effectively stopping the heart.

In victims of electrocution, this is could be one of the causes of instant death. When the heart stops the brain is starved of oxygen and there are only minutes left before it begins to undergo irreversible cell death. Survivors of cardiac arrests like this, often land in a vegetative state, especially if CPR was late and the brain was deprived of oxygen for too long.

Having received the victim in the resuscitation bay at SWH, our emergency team were able to revert this abnormal rhythm with multiple shocks and medications while they maintained his vital functions by artificial means. This ensured that the victim's brain received oxygenated blood while the normal function of the heart could be restored.

Dr Bevin D'Silva - Head & Senior Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine, Sakra World Hospital, says "Ventricular fibrillation is seen in most of the cardiac arrest, this can be brought on by heart attacks or electrolyte imbalances most commonly, and in this case, it was caused by a sizeable electric shock. Most victims with ventricular fibrillation, unfortunately, arrive dead at the hospital.

What Is Ventricular Fibrillation?

Ventricular fibrillation (V-fib) is a dangerous type of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat and it affects the heart's ventricles, says Hopkinsmedicine.org. It is a rapid, life-threatening heart rhythm starting in the bottom chambers of the heart. A human heart is a muscle system that contains 4 chambers; the 2 bottom chambers are the ventricles. In a healthy heart, your blood pumps evenly in and out of these chambers. This keeps blood flowing throughout your body.

An arrhythmia that starts in your ventricle is called ventricular fibrillation. This occurs when the electrical signals that tell your heart muscle to pump cause your ventricles to quiver (fibrillate) instead. The quivering means that your heart is not pumping blood out to your body. In some people, V-fib may happen several times a day. This is called an "electrical storm." And sustained V-fib can lead to cardiac arrest and death, it requires immediate medical attention.

The treatment of Ventricular fibrillation ironically is another controlled "shock" that helps rectify the rhythm. The team worked for around 90 minutes, correcting various imbalances in the pH of his blood, electrolytes etc. and put the patient on advanced life support. Subsequently, a tightly controlled temperature drop was initiated in the emergency department itself to further improve the preservation of brain function.
We are particularly happy to inform you that the patient is now off the ventilator and has even been moved out of the ICU. With various specialities actively supporting his recovery, we are confident he will make it back home in no time.

This case in particular highlights the importance of starting Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR early. This is a skill that can be learnt and performed by anyone. It is a technique of rhythmically compressing the chest and artificially pumping blood containing precious oxygen to the victim's brain. A victim brought in with ongoing CPR by a bystander stands a good chance of surviving the event as the brain will be preserved till professional help can restore the underlying causes and restore normal cardiac function.

This victim is fortunate to have been close to the hospital, prompt action on the spot by his colleagues and the police preserved his life and brought him to an emergency department capable of conducting an advanced resuscitation and ultimately resulting in his survival."
Sakra World Hospital is a champion to the cause of BYSTANDER CPR and regularly conducts training programs and public education drives on the same. It is encouraged that each and every citizen of India learns how to perform CPR on the spot and preserve the lives of victims of sudden cardiac arrest till professional help is available.

About Sakra World Hospital

Located at Outer Ring Road, Marathahalli, Bengaluru, Karnataka, Sakra World Hospital, a Japanese brand under the leadership of Toyota Tsusho and SECOM is India's first MNC hospital. It is a 350-bed hospital, providing healthcare across all specialities such as Neuro Sciences, Cardiac Sciences, Orthopaedics, Women and Child Health, Digestive and Hepatobiliary Sciences, Renal Sciences, Emergency and Trauma Care. There are 12 integrated modular operation theatres (OTs) with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technologies like OR integration solution that features video input recording, saving and displaying from a range of sources like surgical camera, peripheral camera and MIS camera.