What is an electrical storm?

What is an electrical storm?

Electrical storm is something akin to the thunder storm; while the latter occurs in the atmosphere, the former occurs in the electrical system of the heart! In an electrical storm, heart starts beating very fast, usually due to an abnormal focus in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles) which fires very fast electrical signals to the whole of the heart. Sometimes the rate is so fast that the heart muscle cannot contract effectively and goes into stand still (cardiac arrest). When the rates are in the medium high range and originating from the ventricles, it is known as ventricular tachycardia. When it is too fast and the heart just quivers, it is ventricular fibrillation. Though both are life threatening conditions, the later is immediately fatal unless prompt treatment is obtained. These abnormal rhythms can be corrected by an electrical shock delivered with an important medical equipment called as defibrillator. Automatic implantable devices are also there which can be implanted under the skin and can automatically detect these abnormal rhythms and treat. But the device battery can get rapidly exhausted if there is a prolonged electrical storm. Hence an electrical storm needs immediate admission to a cardiac intensive care unit for checking the cause and promptly treating it.

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