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Thousands of PVC's
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Thousands of PVC's

I am 25 weeks pregnant. Over the last month I have begun to have pvc's.  They have become increasingly worse over this time.  I had a holter done 2 weeks ago and it recorded about 800 pvc's.  I had one done 2 days ago and it recorded 20,000+ in 24 hours.  On my own I have counted on average of 30 a minute at any time during the day, no matter what the activity, sitting or walking on my treadmill.  I had an echo and that was normal. My cardiologist is really at a loss and is going to send me to someone else.  He does say that he doesn't think it is dangerous for me or the baby.  I have heard though, that over a certain number of these a day puts you at risk for other heart problems.  Of course I am convinced I am going to die.  I also have other anxiety symptoms.  Could I be having this many pvc's just from extreme anxiety?  How long can I have this many pvc's a day before they do soemthing to my heart? I am told it is most likely pregnancy.  Will this go away after birth?  Will my heart be damaged from them if I have this many for 3 more months?  Sorry for all the questions, I am just very scared.  I tried a beta blocker and nothing helped.  I have had minor pvc's in the past, but nothing like this ever.

Thank you, Lisa
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Lissac67,

I am sorry to hear about the increase in the PVCs you are experiencing. You have indicated that you have a structurally normal heart based on your echocardiogram. Thus the PVCs in this setting place you and your baby at little to no risk. There should be no lasting changes to your heart as a result of these PVCs. The PVCs have likely been induced by the hemodynamic changes in your body associated with pregnancy. Following the delivery of your baby I would expect the PVCs to dramatically decrease in frequency.

However, when 20% of a person's heart beats are PVCs or one experiences PVCs in the range of 20,000 per day, there is an increased risk for developing weakening of the heart muscle. This condition is completely reversible once the PVCs have been suppressed.

Anxiety could be playing a part in your symptoms. Beta blockers are the treatment of choice for PVCs and they usually work very well. However, beta blockers can cause fetal growth retardation.
Other treatment options may also result in some potential risk to your unborn child. However, you can weigh the risks and benefits of different medications with your doctor. You have some time until your delivery and the course  your symptoms will take is highly unpredictable. I would like to reassure you, in that I do not feel that your symptoms are indicative of an increased risk of death or any other long term cardiac problem. Keep us posted on your condition.

Thanks for your question,


CCF-MD-KE
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I know just what you are going through. I have had pac's and pvc's for as long as I can remember but they got really bad when I was pregnant. Dont worry its easier said then done but after the doctor reassured me I was going to be okay I rested Anxiety really causes them to be worse, you just need to try to breathe and relax when one happens, I know I can let my heart bother me or I can try and put it out if my head and I dont panic I feel better. My palpitations have not gone away after pregnancy but Im learning to deal with them day by day. Your heart works alot harder when your pregnant but once you have the baby its all worth it. Im 26 years old and I do notice that the older I get the more they happen plus just the every day stress of raising a child. Dont worry & if you would like to e-mail me please feel free I would love to have someone one on one to talk to who knows what these things feel like ***@**** I hope this helps -shannon
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi and welcome to the "Frequent Flyers" club!  We are a special and very select bunch who get to experience thousands, yes, thousands of pvcs a day for extended periods of time!  I am so sorry to hear that you have to deal with these but please know you are fine and that you are NOT ALONE and that your baby is fine.  I am 37 with two healthy, great kids and my pvcs were not particularly frequent until the second pregnancy and then they really set in for the entire first trimester -- unbelievable.  I was just as scared as you are (which does make them worse, that is true, but please know that they would come anyway, just slightly fewer and for shorter periods if you could somehow "get over" the anxiety -- that is to say:  it is NOT YOUR FAULT that they are this bad so even if you were cool as a cucumber they'd still be with you to some degree).  My big triggers:  stress, hormones, or too much food/alcohol.  Hard to believe that they won't kill you, isn't it?  But I have had the same levels and I even get them in "complex" forms, including runs of VT and even STILL both my cardiologist and electrophysiologist assure me that there is no problem because of my structurally normal heart and great EF.  So now it is a mental game, with the goal being to learn to accept them as a kind of chronic condition that flares up at times (sometimes for a long time) and goes into remission.  Yours will too, believe it or not.  They won't stay at these horrid levels forever -- it just seems that way.  If you can face these things and figure out how not to let them scare you silly, you will then provide an amazing example of courage and heroism for your child.  Figure out how to live with them and then let your child see what you do when life hands you a doozy.  That will help that beloved child of yours when he/she has life's challenges facing him/her.  Try therapy and talking to other people who deal with them too and you will be amazed at how much you can grow to accept them.  I have also begun to get really fit and this helps mentally (and seems to maybe lessen the frequency, I am not sure).  Email for support/info anytime:  ***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, just wanted to share my experience also.  I started getting terrible palpitations during my 3rd pregnancy, and they got worse as the pregnancy went on.  However, my cardiologist said that they are mostly benign (I was having PVC's and PAC's) and that I should try to stay off any medicine if I could stand them, because of the potential danger for the baby.  They were bad, though, and I ended up in the ER a couple of times, they're just so scary!  Anyway, I did make it without taking anything, and I still don't.  They also started getting much worse about 10 years before I went through menopause, when I was 30.  I connected the two because they got so bad, and then when I had my very last period, they diminished greatly.  Lately, though, I've been having a few more again, like when I wake up in the morning, I might have an 'attack' of them.  Do you guys ever have a few in a row, or more like one a minute or so?  I hate that!  I actually ended up at the ER again because I got so nervous, it just seemed like they wouldn't go away.  During my menopause time, I had them about every few beats or so, and then you would think by now I wouldn't be nervous about them, but since I went through a time where they were so decreased, it's like it makes me nervous all over again.  Are most of you on medicaton for yours?  I get nervous that I should be, but all the medications that I've tried have made it worse, and that's what my cardiologist says, is that every single one of the heart drugs on the market today have the potential to not only not help your problem, but to make it worse, so if your palpitations are benign, then you should try to put up with them.  That's what I'm trying to do, but it's hard sometimes, but I worry more about the medication also.  You can really get alot of side effects from it, some of them dangerous.  Hang in there, when you're pregnancy ends, they are sure to decrease, but if you're succeptible to them, I'm sure you'll have them during your life, and then you'll just get used to them, and they won't frighten you as much.  Good luck!!  Val
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks everyone for the wonderful replies.  I am feeling so much better about them already.  They bother me, but are not scarying me so much anymore.  Thanks again!!!

Lisa
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Lisa,

I went through this years ago. Could anxiety be the cause of this? I certainly think so. I 51 years old now. I started to have these when my son went to the first Persian Gulf War. It scared the living hell out of me. I had my heart tested but it came back normal. This went on for months and then just disappeared as fast as it came. I have had recurring bouts of this off and on. Low blood sugar can play a big role in this also. I can even get them after a heavy meal. It doesn't scare me anymore. I think menopause has something to do with the ones I'm having now. If you are pregnant that is certainly a hormonal change and getting anxious about it doesn't help. You should look into relaxation response. Its deep breathing from your diaphram. If you practice it you can calm yourself down in a matter of minutes. Anyone out there with anxiety problems should look into this it really works.

Peggy
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