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PVCs - do I need a holter monitor
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PVCs - do I need a holter monitor

Hi, I am a 44 year old woman. I have had pvcs for years. A couple of years ago, my potassium was low (due to chronic diarrhea), and my doctor did an ekg. No further testing was recommended. This past weekend, I was afraid my potassium was low again, so I started drinking a ton of orange juice. Only after I started drinking the orange juice, I noticed an increase in the pvcs. I ended up going to the ER, all of my blood work was normal, all electrolytes, etc. were normal. My blood pressure was a little high, but I think that was just from stress? They did an ekg while I was there and due to the pvcs, recommended I follow up with my doctor for maybe a holter monitor.
My question is, do I really need to do that? Seeing as my potassium, etc were normal and I have had pvcs for many years? I think the orange juice (I was drinking around a gallon a day) only exacerbated the pvcs. They seem to be back to normal now. Do I really need to see my doctor and pay for a holter monitor? I have no insurance...
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Dear megansmomma,

It is hard to give you an accurate assessment over the internet but I will try to offer some helpful advice. Both low as well as high potassium can lead to abnormal heart rhythms including abundance of PVCs. Although it would be uncommon to increase your potassium just with orange juice to a point of increased PVCs, it might be a possibility. Since the work up in the ER was normal, I suspect that drinking orange juice and PVCs was just a coincidence.
I think Holter is an easy way to get a handle on your situation. A holter would help clarify if your symptoms are truly related to PVCs or ventricular tachycardia as well as help characterize the burden of PVC that you currently have.
Generally speaking, if the PVC burden exceeds 10%, an intervention in the form of a medication or a corrective procedure might need to be performed.

Hope that helps

CCFHeartMD19.
2 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks so much for your answer!  It does help. If I had ventricular tachycardia, that would have shown on the ekg, right? I was hooked up to it for probably two hours or so. The ER doctor did not say anything about ventricular tachycardia, just pvcs...
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