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Airplane travel with PVC's/PAC's
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Airplane travel with PVC's/PAC's

I have been diagnosed with PVC's/PAC's.  I am 39 F with a history of hypertension which I take a 50mg Cozaar for daily.  Seems to control it pretty well.  I do not have anything structurally wrong with my heart and have never had a heart attack or anything like that.  My skips seem to be getting worse in that they are more frequent and seem to come together one after another. They are very adversely affecting my life because they come out of nowhere and I have NO CONTROL over them.  They have me convinced I could die from them because of how they feel! My questions are these:

1.  Is it safe to travel on an airplane with these?
2.  My Dr wants me to try Toprol but I have read so many negative things about it.  He says take it only when you feel a bout coming on. Make sense?
3.  If you feel them does that mean they are worse than if you don't?
4.  Once and for ALL, do PVC'S/PAC's lead to other heart problems?
5.  Can you recommend any reading to help us understand what they are and are not?


Thanks so much for what you do!    
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,

1. Is it safe to travel on an airplane with these?

Absolutely.

2. My Dr wants me to try Toprol but I have read so many negative things about it. He says take it only when you feel a bout coming on. Make sense?

Some people have fatigue when they initially start a beta blocker.  After a month or so, this subsides in most people.  If you take beta blockers as needed, you may have more beta blocker related fatigue on the days you take them.  Either approach may work for you, just be aware the side effects tend to decrease with time.

3. If you feel them does that mean they are worse than if you don't?

No.

4. Once and for ALL, do PVC'S/PAC's lead to other heart problems?

Not that simple.  The vast majority of people with PVCs/PACs do not develop heart problems because of them.  The next question is of those that do develop heart problems, was there PVCs simply the first manifestation of their underlying problem and did it really cause them.  We aren't good a teasing these subtlties out yet.  In general, people with structurally normal hearts should not be concerned about developing a cardiomyopathy unless there are other clues that it might not be that simple -- family history, syncope (passing out), etc.  This is why it is important that you see a doctor for this problem.  The internet can be helpful, but for every one person that meet that the internet helps, I meet many more that are inappropriately scared because of something they read.

5. Can you recommend any reading to help us understand what they are and are not?

Unfortunately, I don't know of a good resource out there.  I think this forum is helpful.

Thanks for posting.  



27 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Do try the BB if they bother you! I take Inderal for PVCs and sinus tachycardia, sometimes as needed, on some bad periods daily, and it usually works wonders for me. BBs don't work the same way for everyone but it's surely worth a try. I had no side effects whatsoever (except some fatigue at the beginning but I'm almost certain it was psychological).



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21064_tn?1309312333
I've traveled by air with lots of pvcs....Inderal helped me when I had a really bad bout of them.....I think the anxiety associated with some air travel can elevate the traveler's awareness of pvcs.

Have a great trip : )
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Avatar_n_tn
what is inderal
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Avatar_f_tn
Carey, I travel often on planes and have with PVC's.  My advise is get to the airport early or at least the 3-4 hrs early they want you to show up before your plane leaves.  Running and rushing through the airport will bring on these PVC's.  Also, don't drink the strong Starbuck Coffee before boarding the plane. Once on the plane don't order anything with caffeine in it just to be on the safe side.  If they serve some kind of food or snacks eat it slow to prevent PVC's

I've found out in the past if I run and rush through the airport I will get PVC's big time.  Eating a full meal before boarding the plane I will get tons of PVC's after the meal.  Strong coffee will bring on PVC's in my case.  If I absulutely think I need a cup of coffee I go to Starbucks and tell them to fill half the cup with coffee and the rest with hot water and I will be fine.

But if I get to the airport early, do not eat a meal before boarding the plane and no strong coffee I will be fine.  If the PVC's do appear once on the plane they wont be as strong and frequent as if I had rushed, eating a meal or drank a strong cup of coffee.
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88793_tn?1290230777
Anyone has an idea?  Last time when I was in the airplane, my legs was very uncomfortable.  Put it up, put it down, straighten up, curves or what ever position still not right.  I think it is called the restless foot.  I didn't have any sleep so very tired.  I got down the plane on Monday and I was admitted in Saturday because the heart played up and the pacemaker was playing tricks.  I hope anyone had that experience can share and solve that with me.  

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21064_tn?1309312333
Inderal is a beta blocker. At one time, I took it on a daily basis.  Now, I am able to use it on an "as needed" basis for pvcs.
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116881_tn?1189759423
Those are very good ideas.  I do tend to get them after a big meal and definetely if I'm rushing.  It seems like the second I sit down and relax ..BOOM! They hit! Iget nervous flying anyway so it really doesn't help.

I'll try those ideas for sure.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been having a new type of PVC (at least I think thats what it is) where it's a long pause (2-3secs) and a hard beat and I get a little dizzy and feel I may faint. This is really disturbing me and causing havic on my days. Anyone relate or have advice?
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88793_tn?1290230777
You can find out from doing a holter monitor.  Mine one showed 3.2 seconds "Pause" but the pacemaker didn't kick in.....  Not reliable?  It was in the day time around 2:15pm.
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Avatar_n_tn
so did your physican say that the 3.2 sec pause was ok? I am getting long pauses without any medication or PM or etc. Thanks.
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116881_tn?1189759423
Do you have anything else going on other than PVC's?
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Avatar_n_tn
i get pacs pvcs and runs of something i dont' know what, feels like my heart starts pumping super fast, and it feels werid like a lot of flips in a row, maybe 15 or more.

ekg, echo and xrays and lab normal.

is the long pause normal? should i worry and have you ever had that fast crazy weird run of beats? i am scared. arg
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88793_tn?1290230777
The holter monitor only printed on the report for "Pause" is over 2.5 second.  Under 2.5sec is not counted.  My cardio said it didn't make sense to him!  Second opinion cardio said, "which is not consistent with having a pacemaker."

They also didn't put me on any med!  Have you done any holter or event monitor yet?  My pacemaker is not for "Pause" but it can use for that as well.

Take care.
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Avatar_n_tn
i have done a few holters, maybe like 5 over the past 7 yrs. i have had all results come back fine,but i'm never symptomatic when i wear one.

i have found increasingly longer pauses (my own personal sensation) before the next beat kicks in. it scares me a lot.
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61536_tn?1340701763
I have lots of PACs and I actually had fewer when traveling, interestingly.  You'll be fine, enjoy your travel :)
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116881_tn?1189759423
I do get those "runs" and periods where my heart absolutely starts beating very strangely.  Its horribly frightening.  I am considering taking a Beta Blocker because I can NOT stand the way it feels!  HAve you tried a 30 day event monitor?  Since the holter monitor isnt picking it up that may be the way to go.  Plus they are much smaller than the 1 or 2 day monitors.  That way if you get a "run" of those bad ones and its caught on tape, if your Dr says its benign maybe you'll feel a lot more at ease.
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Avatar_n_tn
totally would love to do the 30 day event monitor, except thats not possible for at least a year. its great that our healthcare is free, but you gotta wait for it. thats the only down side. i want a 30 day monitor since the chances of catching something then would be so much greater. how does it work? what does it look like? are there still the ekg lines and stickers like the others? it's smaller? can you take a shower?

did you say that you don't get the runs but you do get the fast beats? talk to you soon!
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86819_tn?1378951092
Hi. I use a small amount of beta blocker (TOPROL XL 12.5mg) as needed and it works great.  This small dosage does not seem to cause much fatigue; if anything I have more energy because it completely eliminates my random beats.

I suggest learning to go places without the beta blocker first.  Once you've adequately learned to deal with this little issue, use the beta blocker for comfort.

Good luck.
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116881_tn?1189759423
Thanks Bromley.  I just about have myself convinced to try it.

Nurse-- Its small like the size of 1/2 deck of cards.  They put 3 electrodes on you and when you wan to take a shower you just unhook the 3 and reattach them with the extra sticky tabs they give you.  My PVC's werent caught either until i did the 30 day one.  Its really not that inconvenient at all and very easy to hide.  If you tuck in the wires it looks like a pager.  
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116881_tn?1189759423
I had a stress echo today for the skips.  My heart rate got up to 175 (not pleasant) and the PAC'S started as they ran me of the treadmill.  The heart Dr said they are there but that my heart is structurally 'gorgeous" and I have nothing to worry about. He said try your very best to ignore them and don;t waste a minute worrying about them!
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Avatar_f_tn
CONGRATS on your great test result.  My Cardiologist told me almost the same what yours said, and that took most of my fears out of it.  I still HATE them with a passion but the fear of dropping dead is gone.

Please remember what your cardiologist told you.  Don't make the mistake so many people make no matter how much they are re-assured that they have a healthy heart they still keep on worrying about it, they do not trust what their doctors/cardiologists tell them.  If people don't believe and trust what their cardiologists tell them about their PVC's that they are benign they will have this fear ruining their daily lifes.  

When I get PVC's when out I do not rush home anymore.  I remember what my Cardiologist told me, and say to the PVC's "screw you, bring it on" I still don't like the feeling, but at least I can go on with my life without worrying that I will drop dead or that they will damage my heart.
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116881_tn?1189759423
So after those great results I had a 3 or 4 minute period of them today ..I mean the kind where you fell EVERY SINGLE THUD AND EVERYTHING FEELS OUT OF SYNC.   Do you know what I mean?  Anyway, I had a lot of trouble thinking I wasn't going to drop dead ... still!
I so badly hope I can get this under control.
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Avatar_f_tn
You will maybe never get it 100% under control, but the fear of them will get better if you play your Cardiologists words in your mind LOUD in your mind.

I've been there where you were or are right now.  I got them every other beat the other day while sitting in the middle of traffic on the expressway not moving because of an accident further down.  Here I was sitting with extreme PVC's, no way out, no way to turn around, to the point of claustophobia.  I sat there like that for 35 minutes until traffic moved again.  After another half an hour my PVC's stopped, sometimes they keep on for the rest of the day or week.

They also come on very strong when I'm in  a situation where I feel out of control as on an airplane or stuck on the expressway with traffic not moving.  Then I play the words in my mind what the Cardiologist told me, it doesn't take the PVC's away but it takes the "extreme fear of dying" away.

In the past before I was assured that these PVC's do not kill me I would not even drive on the expressway, but took the streets/roads.  I avoided airplanes, not anymore though.  I lost most of the fear of these PVC's and wont let them ruin my life, and since the Cardiologist assured me that they wont kill me I'm not playing the "what if" game anymore.

I still hate them, they make me very uncomfortable but I do not rush home anymore or plan my daily routines around them i.e. not driving or going certain places  "just in case I will get PVC's"  or in case I do have PVC's at the moment.

Once your Cardiologist assure you that they will not kill you,. you have to trust him/her.  If somebody gets severe headaches and is assured there is no brain tumor the headaches are still a *****, but the fear of a brain tumor is not there, and doesn't have to be there anymore.
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116881_tn?1189759423
You're so oooooo right!  I hope I get to that point where I can believe it.  I am doing EXACTLY what you described that you used to do.  Its almost like I am getting agoraphobic.  

Thanks for the great advice.  I'm glad to hear someone is at least successfully dealing with it.
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Avatar_f_tn
Aside from the PVC's I also WAS agorophobic for many yrs and had severe panic attacks mostly when out.  When I was agorophobic I still managed to leave the house but with great anxiety and when it got to bad I hurried home.  At work I used to run to the bathroom claiming I had diarrhea so my co-workers would not think that I am some kind of a nut case.  Nobody at that time understood panic attacks, PVC's or agrophobia because none of them ever experienced it and it was not talked about as often as it is now.

Good luck to you!  Hang in there!  It will get better.

There is one more thing what helped me.  I thought/think of people who had heart attacks or very bad hearts like a relative of ours who had two heart attacks at age 42 and NEVER HAD PVC'S at least not that he felt them like we do.  I always think that people with real heart disease would gladly trade places with us.  

Things always could be worst.  I say that about everything and whatever I have to face and go through.

I never feel sorry for myself.  I'm NOT saying that you do.  I don't know you, and it doesn't look like going by your posts.
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116881_tn?1189759423
I just reread your post because I was in desperate need of support.  Tonight I was laying down after dinner -- totally at ease and WHAM!  A huge thud like my heart stopped and started.  So here I am waitng for the next BANG!  I just find myself trying to pray them away.  Its awful....
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