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PVCs and Marijuana
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PVCs and Marijuana


  I am a 49 year old male who has just been diagnosed with infrequent PVC. I have been a vegetarian and nutrition nut since I was 21. I run 2 miles and lift weights 3 times per week, as I have done religiously for the last 15 years.  I haven't used caffeine for over 20 years, eat practically no sweets, don't drink soda, eat chocolate very infrequently. I have been smoking since about 30, but at most 1 pack a day, usually about half that much. I do drink alcohol, but only beer, usually about 2-3   normal 12oz cans every night. I do not consider myself in a high stress situation, and have my own company and work at home.  There is no history of heart disease in my family, and none of my 3 brothers or my father have any symptoms of cardiac problems. There seems to be nothing in my life style per se that should indicate that I have a predilection to this disorder.
   I am thin at 135 lbs, 5'10" high. I have always been very active and worked hard with no indication that I had an abnormal heart until recently. An ECG when I was 25 years old and which I still have a copy of, showed a right axis deviation as did a recent one,apparently due to my slight build. When comparing the two ECGs, they seemed almost identical except that the QT interval is clearly longer on the later one in all lead sets taken. My doctor is in the process of asking the insurance company to let me wear a Holter monitor for a day to try to catch a PVC to see if it may be multifocal. He thinks mine in unifocal, and has experience since he is about my age and has a unifocal PVC himself.
  My PVC are very mild, happen only every few minutes,sometimes only every few hours, and  usually isolated, that is, not continuous. But this has only been happening for the last week, so I don't have much history to go on. I took Prozac for about 3 yearsfor depression, but have not taken it for over 5 months, and don't feel depressed now or for the last few months.  I started taking St. John's Wort about 6 weeks ago, but my doctor sees no connection there, though I believe that it is an MAOI.
  Here is my real question and why I don't use my real name. I have smoked marijuana  since I was in college, so over 28 years now, much of that  time on a daily basis, but very moderately. I don't consider what I smoke to be very strong, at least not compared to some of the stuff my friends have brought over.
  Is there any information available that would suggest any link between PVCs and marijuana or its active compound THC? Should I be looking to nutritional or other lifestyle factors to explain this sudden onset of PVC, or is it just grandfather time catching up with me?
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Dear Guy,
PVCs and PACs (premature ventricular and atrial contractions) are COMPLETELY BENIGN, i.e. they are
extra beats of the heart that everyone has, some of us feel them, some of us do not.  
For those people who are bothered by these extra beats, we recommend you avoid caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and stress
as these may precipitate the extra beats.  As well you should avoid anything including marijuana that you notice makes the
beats occur (more frequently.)  
My best advice to you is that you shift your focus from something that will cause you NO HARM over to
what surely is causing you harm and that specifically is your daily smoking and drinking.
I hope this information is useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for
general purposes only. Only your physician can provided specific diagnoses and therapies.
Feel free to write back with further questions. Good luck!
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please
call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at
www.ccf.org/heartcenter. The Heart Center website contains a directory of the
cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your
cardiac problem.




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