Ventricular fibrillation without apparent heart disease: description of six cases

Am Heart J. 1989 Dec;118(6):1203-9. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(89)90011-2.


Since 1977, six patients (five males and one female), aged 14 to 35 years, resuscitated from ventricular fibrillation, were referred to our department for detailed evaluation, after exclusion of major cardiac pathologic conditions. Four patients had a family history of heart disease. Basic ECGs showed sinus rhythm in all of them. PR interval was prolonged in one. Two patients had complete and one had incomplete right bundle branch block. One patient had inverted t waves in V1-3 and late potentials. Three had an upsloping ST-T segment elevation in V1-2. The cardiothoracic index was less than 0.5 in five and 0.50 in one. In one of the five patients studied, the clinical episode of ventricular fibrillation was reproduced by stimulation of the right ventricular outflow tract during electrophysiologic study. Results of cross-sectional echocardiography and angiography showed predominantly structural and wall motion abnormalities of the right ventricle in five patients and slight wall motion abnormalities of the left ventricle in two. Two patients also had mitral and tricuspid valve prolapse. Coronary arteries were normal in all five patients examined. Results of endomyocardial biopsy showed no abnormalities in one patient, fibrosis in two, and fibrolipomatosis in one. Two patients died during follow-up: autopsy was performed in one and results showed right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Thus in five of these selected patients with apparent idiopathic ventricular fibrillation, some abnormalities, predominantly of the right ventricle, were documented only after detailed investigation; however, clinical history and some nonspecific ECG abnormalities were factors in the diagnostic procedure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Angiography
  • Biopsy
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Endocardium / pathology
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / complications
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Resuscitation
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / complications*
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / therapy