Heart Disease Expert Forum
Palpitations
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Palpitations

Have had PVC's and PAC's for years.  Some days only have a few and other days it will skip a couple of times per hour.  I also have the odd time when my heart just randomly starts going really fast for a few seconds and then does a whamo and goes back to normal.

A few questions:

1. Why is it some days I only have a few skips and other days have so many or them?
2. Do you think it is SVT that happens when my heart just randomly goes fast for a few seconds and does a whamo and goes back to normal?
3. I get different feelings with my PVC's and PAC's.  Sometimes they feel like an electrical jolt in my heart and other times they just have the pause and hard thump.  Why is it that I get different ones?
4. I have been to some great cardiologists in my city and they always tell me I have nothing to worry about as my heart is completely normal and that everyone gets ectopics beats every day.  Is that true?  I don't know anyone who gets them!
5. I have a 17 year old son that has told me that he has started getting skips and thumps in his heart as well.  He just came back from the doctor and has a form for and ECG and blood work.  Do you think this is sufficient for finding out if there is anything wrong??
6. Is it possible to have just hyper-awareness of my heartbeat and just worry about nothing when I have been told over and over that my heart is normal?

Thank you for your time!!!!
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hi stressedaboutpalps,

Ectopic beats are very common and can cause anxiety in those that are aware of them. If you look at the questions posted in the heart forum, many relate to ectopic beats and palpitations so you're not alone.
Ectopic beats can lead to a range of feelings and you explain the typical sensations well in your note. Triggers that can influence the frequency of ectopic beats include your activity levels, stress/anxiety, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other stimulants / recreational drugs. Thyroid function and electrolytes should be reviewed as abnormalities in these parameters can trigger palpitations in predisposed individuals.

I would be interested to also know the amount of ectopic beats you have as this can be important for deciding on the need for additional tests and treatments. A 48-72 hour holter will provide a percentage of ectopic beats and may also shed light on the rapid heart rate you are experiencing. If your tests to date have shown the heart structure and function to be normal, and you have no history of collapse and no significant family history of sudden cardiac death, you are in a low risk category and can be observed without any specific interventions.

Medical therapy with a beta-blocker or other rate controlling medication can help regulate or smooth out the ectopic beats, although you would need to discuss potential side effects with your doctor before starting such a medication.

With regards to your son, I think that an ECG and blood work are good starting points for evaluating palpitations. An echocardiogram of the heart is likely to be normal but is important for ruling out underlying abnormalities in heart structure or function.

I hope that this information is helpful.
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