Mechanisms of VF maintenance: Wandering wavelets, mother rotors, or foci

Academic Article


  • Ventricular fibrillation (VF), despite its declining incidence as a cause of sudden cardiac death, is still a major health problem. The underlying mechanisms for the maintenance of VF are still disputed. Studies suggest that VF is unlikely one static mechanism but rather a dynamic process of electrical derangement that changes with duration. The 2 principal proposed mechanisms of VF are multiple wavelets and mother rotors. Most studies of these proposed mechanisms for VF maintenance have been during the first minute of VF. However, the time to external defibrillation in the community and pre-hospital settings, where the majority of sudden cardiac death occurs, ranges from 4 to 10 min and the time to defibrillation seems crucial because the odds of survival worsen with delay. Recent studies during the first 10 min of VF suggest that Purkinje fibers are important in maintaining VF after the first 1 to 2 min, either as a part of a reentrant circuit or as a source of focal activations. © 2009 Heart Rhythm Society.
  • Published In

  • Heart Rhythm  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tabereaux PB; Dosdall DJ; Ideker RE
  • Start Page

  • 405
  • End Page

  • 415
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 3