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Ventricular fibrillation

Ventricular fibrillation is responsible for 50,000 sudden cardiac deaths in France each year, too often likened to a natural death…. i.e. one sudden death every 10 minutes.  The average age is 65 years old, half of the victims being younger subjects in employment. 


Ventricular fibrillation is a severe disorder of the heart’s electrical activity, making the lower chambers quiver rather than contract; as such the heart can no longer pump blood through the body. This results in death if he or / she is not reanimated within the following five minutes by CPR and electric shock delivered by a defibrillator.


Ventricular fibrillation is associated with pre-existing heart disease (infarction, cardiomyopathy) but can occur in a healthy heart.


Some Lyric doctors have identified the triggers of sudden death as due to ventricular fibrillation.


These triggers are located in the electrical system of the heart, called the Purkinje network. This electrical network is essential for heart contraction and represents only 2% of the ventricular mass! The localized destruction of these arrhythmogenic sources by thermoablation represents an innovative and curative approach to ventricular fibrillation in order to prevent sudden death.


Young patients with genetic predispositions or pure electrical dysfunctions may develop arrhythmia but majority of ventricular arrhythmia occur in association with structural heart disease. About 40% of sudden cardiac deaths occur as a complication of acute myocardial infarction and are potentially reducible through prevention of risk factors and coronary ischemia.


The major challenge today is the identification of high-risk individuals as the current survival rate is under 4%. This is an unacceptable situation given that these people, if identified, could be equipped with an implantable defibrillator or treated with anti-arrhythmic drugs.