Finding out why seemingly healthy people experience ventricular fibrillation, a fatal irregular heart rhythm, could eventually lead to better methods of early detection, according to a Medical College of Georgia researcher.
“We don’t know what starts ventricular fibrillation or why defibrillation – electrically shocking the heart back into beating normally – works to correct it,” says Dr. Autumn Schumacher, a new faculty member in the MCG School of Nursing who recently won the American Heart Association’s Martha N. Hill New Investigator Award for her research. “We do, however, need a better understanding of this abnormal rhythm and its subtle warning signals so that we can develop smarter bedside monitors.”
While the condition is more common in people with undiagnosed heart problems, those who’ve had a previous heart attack and those with coronary artery disease, it also happens to seemingly healthy people when the body is under stress and secreting adrenaline, says Dr. Schumacher, a physiological and technological nursing professor.
Jennifer Hilliard | EurekAlert!
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