From HandWiki
Short description: Rapid, irregular contraction of muscle fibers (typically of the heart)

Fibrillation is the rapid, irregular, and unsynchronized contraction of muscle fibers. An important occurrence is with regard to the heart.


There are two major classes of cardiac fibrillation: atrial fibrillation and ventricular fibrillation.

Fibrillation may sometimes be used after heart surgery to stop the heart from beating while any minor leaks are stitched up.


Fibrillation also occurs with individual skeletal muscle fibers.[7] This happens when muscle fibers lose contact with their innervating axon producing a spontaneous action potential, "fibrillation potential" that results in the muscle fiber's contraction. These contractions are not visible under the skin and are detectable through needle electromyography (EMG) and ultrasound.[8] Fibrillations can occur in healthy individuals. If the fibrillations have irregular potentials then they don't have pathological significance.[9] In other cases they are a major symptom in acute and severe peripheral nerve disorders, in myopathies in which muscle fibers are split or inflamed, and in lower motor neuron lesions.

They contrast with fasciculations that are visible spontaneous contractions involving small groups of muscle fibers. Fasciculations can be seen in lower motor neuron lesions as well, but they also do not necessarily denote pathology.


The word fibrillation (/ˌfɪbrɪlˈʃən/) is related to the word fibril in the sense of muscle fibrils, the proteins that make up each muscle fiber (muscle cell).


  1. Reddy, Vivek; Taha, Wael; Kundumadam, Shanker; Khan, Mazhar (2017-07-05). "Atrial fibrillation and hyperthyroidism: A literature review". Indian Heart Journal (Elsevier BV) 69 (4): 545–550. doi:10.1016/j.ihj.2017.07.004. ISSN 0019-4832. PMID 28822529. 
  2. Dalen, James E.; Alpert, Joseph S. (2017). "Silent Atrial Fibrillation and Cryptogenic Strokes". The American Journal of Medicine (Elsevier BV) 130 (3): 264–267. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.09.027. ISSN 0002-9343. PMID 27756556. 
  3. Visser, Marloes; van der Heijden, Jeroen F.; Doevendans, Pieter A.; Loh, Peter; Wilde, Arthur A.; Hassink, Rutger J. (2016). "Idiopathic Ventricular Fibrillation". Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology (Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)) 9 (5). doi:10.1161/circep.115.003817. ISSN 1941-3149. PMID 27103090. 
  4. Krummen, David E; Ho, Gordon; Villongco, Christopher T; Hayase, Justin; Schricker, Amir A (2016). "Ventricular fibrillation: triggers, mechanisms and therapies". Future Cardiology (Future Medicine Ltd) 12 (3): 373–390. doi:10.2217/fca-2016-0001. ISSN 1479-6678. PMID 27120223. 
  5. Luo, Qingzhi; Jin, Qi; Zhang, Ning; Huang, Shangwei; Han, Yanxin; Lin, Changjian; Ling, Tianyou; Chen, Kang et al. (2017-11-28). "Antifibrillatory effects of renal denervation on ventricular fibrillation in a canine model of pacing-induced heart failure". Experimental Physiology (Wiley) 103 (1): 19–30. doi:10.1113/ep086472. ISSN 0958-0670. PMID 29094471. 
  6. Ludhwani, Dipesh; Jagtap, Mandar (2018-12-19). Rhythm, Ventricular Fibrillation. PMID 30725805. Retrieved 2019-03-29. 
  7. "fibrillation" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  8. "Muscles alive: ultrasound detects fibrillations". Clin Neurophysiol 120 (5): 932–6. 2009. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2009.01.016. PMID 19356976. 
  9. Stöhr M (1977). "Benign fibrillation potentials in normal muscle and their correlation with endplate and denervation potentials". J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatry 40 (8): 765–8. doi:10.1136/jnnp.40.8.765. PMID 925696.