There are several ventricular heart rhythms/arythmias and all of them have the potential to be lethal. Some of them are always deadly.
I'll start with ventricular rhythms. The ventricles have an intrinsic rate between 20 and 40 beats per minute. Clearly, if you're at this point, you are having some major issues medically speaking. So now that you can recognize a ventricular rhythm (by the wide QRS complex) the rate becomes important.
- <20 - Recheck for a pulse, I bet they're dead.
- 20 to 40 - Ideoventricular rhythm
- 40 to 100 - Accelerated ventricular rhythm
- 100+ Ventricular tachycardia (V-Tach), again, check for pulses. Often a lethal heart rhythm.
|An ideoventricular rhythm. Note the wide QRS complexes.|
|A sinus rhythm going into V-Tach. This photo demonstrates how much wider the QRS complexes really are from a sinus thythm.|
Ventricular fibrillation I think is best described as your heart having a seizure. The entire muscle just spasms and ceases to pump blood. This is always a lethal heart rhythm.
|A is course V-Fib, B is fine V-Fib|
The last ventricular arrhythmia is Torsades De Puentes which means twisting of points. This is a form of V-Tach with some specific characteristics on the EKG:
- Rotation of the heart's electrical axis by at least 180º
- Prolonged QT interval
- Preceded by long and short RR-intervals
- Triggered by an early premature ventricular contraction (R-on-T PVC)
|You can actually see the "twisting of the points" best in leads II, III, and aVR.|
Heart Rhythms Part 1: Basic Anatomy
Heart Rhythms Part 2: Sinus Rhythms
Heart Rhythms Part 3: Junctional Rhythms
Heart Rhythms Part 4: Ventricular Rhythms
Heart Rhythms Part 5: Premature Beats
Heart Rhythms Part 6: Heart Blocks