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can pvc's cause harmful arrythmia?
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can pvc's cause harmful arrythmia?

Hello
I was told by a friend that her cardiologist told her if pvc's get bad they can possibly lead to a fatal arythmia,is this true?Also how common is it for pvc's to lead to cardiomyopathy?I have them alot meaning at times several a minute.I quit having them for 3 years then they started again in August of 2004. I had an echo 7 years ago,they said it was normal, should I have another one?Thank you so much,these things have crippled my life because of this fear.
Dreama
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74076_tn?1189759432
Hi Dreamboat,

The first thought that came to my head is that crossing the street can be fatal too....but almost never is.  If you have a normal EKG, echo, holter, and event monitor, the odds of you having life threatening problems from PVCs is minuscule.  Once these tests are negative, I think you have to make a conscious decision: am I going to focus on this problem for the rest of my life or am I goint to move.  Medications like beta blockers may help, but if they don't and there is no objective evidence in the literature that PVCs are life threatening, it would serve you better to just live with them and move on.  I had to be so matter of fact, but I have seen people who alter their lives because of PVCs.  Try not to let this be you.

Can people develop a cardiomyopathy from PVCs?  In the most extreme cases, yes--but this isn't a few PVCs per minute that does this.

Good luck, I hope this helps.
26 Comments
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84483_tn?1289941537
This is great question. I have been wanting to ask the same question, especially the part about frequent pvcs eventually leading to cardiomyopathy. I understand that about when 15-20% of all your heartbeats are pvcs then it is a possibility of this happening and apparently it has to go on for years.

Also apparently from the information I have read, some  other problem has to coexist with PVCs such as a leaking valve or some other heart anomaly for cardiomyopathy to take place. I would assume and it is only my opinion that it is probably the weakened heart muscle itself that enables to the pvcs to trigger a dangerous arrhythmia, other than that if the heart is normal and no other problem present , then I would assume(my opinion only) that regardless of the number of pvcs occuring the chances of cardiomyopathy occuring would be a very rare complication or that pvcs themselves would ever turn into to a dangerous arrhythmia, would be very interesting to see the doctors reply.
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39623_tn?1265417041
Hi there,

I tune in everyday to read and gain knowledge from the questions, answers.  
I am a little confused about your comments, maybe you can help me.
I thought cardiomyopathy was a weakening of the heart muscle.  My diagnosis on record with my cardio is cardiomyopathy but they told me not to worry about it because otherwise I had a healthy heart.  I have thousands of PVC's everyday some are very systematic and others are not.  I have high blood pressure and am on atenol and hyzaar 50.  
Comments from everyone welcome.
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21064_tn?1309312333
When I asked the same question in 2003, the doctor responded as follows:

"PVCs can lead to a real drop in EF if they are so frequent as to cause a fast heart rate, or they can cause a "pseudo-drop" in EF if the echo clips all contain PVC beats and not normal beats."

I'm always interested in this type of question.  Thanks for asking.
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21064_tn?1309312333
When my EF dropped, as a result of very frequent pvcs, the doctor's diagnosis was cardiomyopathy.  EF went from 55% to 40% in a year.
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39623_tn?1265417041
My ejection fraction has gotten better. Two years ago when first diagnosed 47% which I believe to be considered low normal.  And as of last July it has gone up to 54%.  So the medications must be helping. Thanks for the comments.
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21064_tn?1309312333
GREAT news on the EF!  HOORAY!!  Doesn't that mean that the CM is improving?
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39623_tn?1265417041
I take it to mean that the heart muscle was weakening but it has gotten stronger now.  EF is in normal range so wouldn't the cardiomypathy be gone??????
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39623_tn?1265417041
I just read the answer from the doctor.  My case must be rare for the EF to gain percentage, ya think?
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Avatar_n_tn
I think its amazing that there are sooooo many PVC questions !!!   Its hard to believe there are that many people with the same problem "thats able to post so often".  I wonder if 'someone' isn't paranoid about their situation.  If so, I would recommend they seek medical care in 'person' rather than over the internet.  Their situation is too serious to seek over the internet..  I would suggetst you get some help for your 'own' peace of mind and for your heart.  

I'm sure CCF is more than happy to assist you in your quest for an answer concerning your arrhythmia by giving you an appointment - in PERSON..

Please be kind and let others ask questions..  

Marilyn (runner)
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Avatar_n_tn
Regarding EF, you have to take into account measurement error and lot of other factors.  I have had two echos many years apart, the first showing an EF of 80% and the last an RF of 51%, now I do want to ask a doctor about this variation, but on the recent stress test I did I achieved over 13 METS which is a pretty high capacity and I suspect contradicts an EF of 51%.
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Avatar_n_tn
I dont know what to think of your post.  According to my ep almost everybody at some point in time has pvcs.  So it doesnt seem unreasonable to me that their are so many questions regarding this issue.  If your post is implying that ones of us has multiple names and keeps posting about pvcs then I agree that is wrong.  However if that isnt the case your comments could be very offensive.  Unless you have proof its someone with multiple names its best not to open a can of worms like that dont you think?  Im sure the drs get tired of questions about pvcs however if they are as common as I have been told they are then no wonder there are so many questions.  This board is meant as a learning tool. Also keep in mind the go red for womens heart issues.  A lot more people take these things to concern now and you can realy blame them we only have one heart.
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21064_tn?1309312333
Good point regarding the fluctuations in echo measurements and interpretations.  I know I can be one of those patients who sometimes gets caught up in the numbers, so thanks for the reminder.  It is so important to consider the results in context of one's overall health rather than as a simple number.  

In my case, my EF had always been in the normal range,  But, in late 2002/early 2003, I had 2 echos, one month apart, EF 40% and 45%. I remember asking the doctor if it was a fluke, and she said "No, not with two nearly identical results."  Then, three months after the first ablation, my EF was nearly normal.  About six months after that (after the 2nd ablation), EF was back to normal.  Two echos since, EF still normal.  Keeping my fingers crossed for 6 month check up next month.  

Hey, 13 METS is AWESOME!!  WOW!  My stress echo 2 years before I had the drop in EF, was at 10 METS.  When I had the two echos with diminishing EF, I also had 2 stress tests, both of which measured 8.5 METS.  Now that my EF is back to normal, I am back at 10 METS.  Seems to support your theory.

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21064_tn?1309312333
It seems to me that if the doctors and/or administrators were concerned about the nature of the questions, they would post some type of statement or comment.  I am so glad that my cariologist never tires of answering my questions, regardless of how many other patients have asked the same questions, day after day, week after week, year after year. If all I get is reassurance, that's nature's best medicine.  

Until it becomes a problem for the doctors and/or administrators why not just read, participate and learn? I usually refrain from getting into these discussions, but it's getting old.
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86819_tn?1378951092
My cardiologist simply told me to "Live my life".  With regard to the various annoyances, as well as some fairly low level issues, for me, this was very good therapy.
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Avatar_n_tn
My situation was a little strange.  10 years ago I had an echo and it showed LVPW = 11mm, IVS = 11mm, EFc = 80% and my cardio said that the walls of my heart had thickened due to high BP. I was not expecting this.  My resting BP is normally 110/70, but it does go up when I see the doctor.  I had a stress test done after the echo and achieved 14 METS, but this did not change my cardios diagnosis.  My regular doctor told me that I do not have high BP and took me off the meds that my cardio had put me on after we confirmed this with 2 weeks of BP easurements. This got me wondering why I had thickening and if it was not LVH I started to worry it was CM.  I worried for about 5 years and then had another echo and stress test.  This echo showed LVWD = 9.5mm, IVS = 8.8mm, EF = 51% and FS = 26%.  In the stress test I achieved 13 METS as I mentioned to you before. Not only had my wall thicknesses returned to the middle of the normal range, but my EF had dropped substantially, yet I still did 13 METS! I am a bit confused by it all but my last cardio said all is normal.  I never though the EF would fluctuate this much from test to test without it signifying something.
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Avatar_n_tn
Ok, I understand peoples frustrations when they are not able to post about their problems, and see all these PVC questions pop up. But having those dreadfull PVC's myself I know how concerned they can get you, and you just start looking for reassurance. I think this board is a great source of information. For everyone, not only for PVC-people ! Guess wehn evrybody just keeps to the maximum amount of questions it's ok. Maybe the amount of PVC questions is related to the amount of sufferers ? It's annoying having something they say it's benign but it can ruin your life. The advice of the doc to not let it alter your life is true but difficult. I was a very active sporter and wnated to get in the army, I started exercising again with my frequent pvc's but it's hard sometimes to believe it's benign when you wake up having bigeminy, and still feel safe running or biking. And I'm not sure I'm going to be accepted medically with this in the army, so it will alter my life anyway. And that sucks bigtime.
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Avatar_n_tn
What are the other diagnostic parameters for your CM? LVWD? IVS?
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21064_tn?1309312333
WOW! I can see why you want to talk to your doctor next go round.  It will be interesting to see what he/she has to say.  Did you ever have any outward indication of a drop in EF?  Although 51% could be absolutely normal, it seems odd to have changed so drastically.  Defintely worth asking about, if for nothing but curiosity.

TEE November 2000 - normal EF 55 +/- 5%

Stress echo December 2002:  "Heart rate response to stress was normal, Max HR 97%, 8.5 METS.  Transient episodes of ventricular bigeminy in early exercise. At the level of stress achieved, echocardiographic imaging showed evidence of a ccardiomyopathic process in the entire left ventricle.  Baseline left ventricular ejectio fraction was 40%. Stress ejection fraction increased.  The stress testing information is consistent with cardiomyopathy."  Funny, for about a year prior to this result, I had noticed significant SOB and fatigue and for a few months prior to the test I had been feeling so much better. I guess it goes to show how you don't always have outward signs of what's going on inside.

Echo February 2004:  LVIDd 4.69 cm, Sys Dimension 3.48; FS 26%,normal LV and LA size, normal EF 55 +/- 5%.  Report said, "LV function appears modestly greater, compared with a prior LVEF of 45% +/- 5% (Dr. said closer to 40%)

Echo stress November 2004 - LV 5.3 cm, LVIDd 3.5 cm, FS 30%, LVEF 55 +/- 5%, Normal LV and LA size.  10 METS on the Bruce Protocol (others were Cornell).  Maybe some of these numbers make sense to you : ) Dr. always says she is careful to take everything into consideration before making dx.  Overall, feeling much better these days.

Have a great day!
Connie





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Avatar_n_tn
I assure you this is the first time I have asked a question.If you think this isn't a real problem for some then you have never lived with them.
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Avatar_n_tn
My cardio says that measuring EF by echo is not as accurate as by MUGA scan... and it seems to me I've read that here in the forum too. I'm not sure if the variability in EF measures by echo might be part of why echos aren't "the gold standard"... Once in the emergency room, during serious episode of a fib or flutter, my ef was 25 by echo... a few days later, thanks to meds (no more arrhythmia), it was up to 40 by echo. Don't know where it is now... hope higher! :)
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Avatar_n_tn
I some what respectfully disagree with the M.D. in this forum. Pvc depending on their severity can in fact cause Arythmia. Fatal is highly unlikely..Unless their are other disorders going on in the heart.
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Avatar_n_tn
You really need to keep your rude comments to yourself or dont come to this site. There are people on here that have tons of pvcs and are scared and looking for support. I know there are others with more complicated heart problems then pvcs, but you try living with these things day in and day out. stop putting people down and get a life
                            Darlene
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Avatar_n_tn
Thats Marilyn for you.  I could see if the same person was posting over and over.  I dont think since I have been reading the forum that she has had anything kind or positive to say to anyone. Its like I have said before you can clearly see what the topic is about.  If you cant say something nice or are tired of pvcs questions please dont read it.
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree with you. I have also read post by marylyn and she is really down right rude. I have had pvcs for years and I wouldnt wish it on anyone. finally the Dr put me on meds which help alot. Well got to go to work. By the way I love your user name.
                                                  Darlene
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Avatar_n_tn
LOL the username is a unusual one.lol Thanks very much
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A related discussion, more on pvcs was started.
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