Ectopic heartbeats mainly on recovery from exercise
Quick background: 24, male, 5ft11ish, about 60kgs. First experienced weird heart palpitations about 6 years ago, they've been there ever since in varying degrees during rest (sometimes none for weeks, sometimes dozens a day), but the constant throughout has been their presence during recovery from cardio exercise (at their very worst I couldn't walk up the stairs at normal speed without triggering them). As far as I can tell they're not present during the exercise itself but I've generally avoided most cardio since they began, so hard to be sure on that one.
I had a 24hr holter-monitor when they first appeared but had none on that day, so my doctor said it was nothing to worry about. I just tried to ignore them and avoid cardio for the years after this. After another recent bout felt after jogging to catch a train, I decided that this really wasn't normal, wasn't going away and needed to be checked more thoroughly. So I visited my new doctor who sent me for another 24hr monitor. This time I decided to induce the sensation by going for a jog/run whilst the monitor was attached. The palpitations surfaced just after I stepped off the treadmill as expected.
I recently received the results. I don't have them to hand so this is by memory:
6 ectopic beats
Average heart rate: 72bpm
Peak heart rate: 170bpm (during the jog/run, which is very high given I didn't even break into a full sprint)
Lowest heart rate: 52bpm (during sleep)
Having read some threads on here, I realise that 6 ectopics is actually a really small amount. However, I'm fairly sure that these all came within the space of 10-15 seconds during the period of recovery from the run. From personal research, I've read that these ectopics (not sure whether they were PVCs or PACs, my doctor didn't go into this) are generally harmless in isolation but having so many bunched together can cause more serious problems. My doctor's verdict was nothing to worry about but he seemed a little rushed (the waiting room was full, my appointment was behind schedule) and so I didn't get a chance to discuss things fully. What I would really like to know is: can I just ignore them and begin cardio exercise again? They're very uncomfortable and sometimes lead to a certain amount of light-headedness when in bunches, but if it is safe I think can put up with this as I would like to get fitter and start playing sports again (which I have missed doing for years now).
Thank you in advance for any answers. Any general guidance about dealing with these is also appreciated, I have noticed a few triggers (too much caffeine, lack of sleep, stress - the usual sorts of things) but if there are other things I could do or try to avoid that would be great.
Ectopic beats are commonly asymptomatic, means they do not cause symptoms. In normal hearts, their occurrence is usually associated with no clinical significance. But if the ectopic beats are causing symptoms or if they are causing conditions like VT ( ventricular tachycardia), they need to be treated. So, follow the advice given by your doctor and keep up with the lifestyle measures.
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