Does anyone know what escape beats are? I just got back holter results today saying that i had 60 in 24 hours. I did have other findings that are typical for my condition, but i've never had escape beats. Any information would be great!
Escape beats are default beats that occur when the SA or AV nodes are not behaving properly. For example, the AV node is capable of generating pulses at 40-60 bpm and will start pacing the heart if it fails to receive a signal from the SA node after a second or so. So if your SA node pauses too long, the AV node takes over as a safety mecahnism. On the other hand if the AV node blocks the normal SA conduction pulse from reaching the ventricles, the ventricles will start beating on their own at 40 bpm.
I really don't know for sure. Hopefuly, your cardiologist will cover that topic at your next visit. My guess is that your escape beats are harmless as well as the condition which led to them. And 60 a day is a relatively low frequency. I have second degree heart block myself which results in occasional pauses in av node conduction (the heart block doesn't require treatment). I imagine escape beats sometimes occur during those times though my cardiologist has never mentioned it. So in my view, escape pulses are akin to PVCs-- harmless. And if you are not aware of them, so much the better.
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