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skipped or missed heartbeats
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skipped or missed heartbeats


  About 2 years ago, I experienced some missed or skipped heartbeats followed by much belching or gas problems.  These episodes have continued since then.  They seldom last for more than a couple of beats, but they cause me lots of worry and consternation.  I've discussed this  with myDr. and have taken an EKG, which he says is normal.  He had me on Prilosec and I have tried many over the counter ante-acids without any reduction in the missed heartbeats, which  happen once or twice per day. I'm 63 and am  physically active,not overweight, gave up smoking about 2 yrs. ago when this started, and have annual checkups.  Also, I don't do drugs,and drink just one cup of coffee in the AM. I did have a case of H-phylori, which he treated with antibiotics, about a year ago. Any suggestions?
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Dear Gene,
I would try cutting out caffeine completely.  I know how hard this is - I love Starbucks coffee and they just put a store here in the Cleveland Clinic!
I have also enclosed some additional information on PVC's below.  Hope this helps.  Good luck.
******************
Thank you for your question.  PVC's can cause chest pain  as you can see from the many other questions on this site.   You can also draw comfort from the fact that so many others have the same concerns that you do.    As far as specific advice about what you should do we always recommend following your local doctor's suggestions.
Below is a brief summary of what a PVC is, what causes them and the treatment (if any) for PVC's.  You can find additional information in an article in New England Journal of Medicine, May 7, 1998, Vol. 338, pages 1369-1374. Your local medical library will have a copy of this.  Hope this helps.
    PVC's (premature ventricular contractions) are "extra" heartbeats occurring out of sync with the normal regular rhythm of the heart.  PVC's may cause no symptoms at all or may be felt as a "irregular" heartbeat or as the sensation of a "hard heartbeat".  PVC's  are common findings in persons with otherwise normal hearts, in which case the prognosis is excellent and there is no decrease at all in life expectancy.  On the other hand, they may indicate that there is an underlying abnormality of the heart muscle (from any number of reasons).  If there is an abnormality, then the prognosis and treatment depends upon the specific problem of the heart.  The usual evaluation of PVC's is a history, physical examination, and electrocardiogram (ECG).  Also your doctor may wish to check an ultrasound of the heart.  If all those tests are normal, then you would fall into the category of people who have PVC's but otherwise no underlying heart problem. In that case, treatment depends on how much the PVC's bother you. If they are essentially asymptomatic, then no treatment is required. If they bother you, then a medication called a "beta-blocker" may reduce the frequency of the PVC's. PVC's can't be "cured", but the medication can decrease their frequency. The potential side effects of beta-blockers are tiredness, impotence in men and breathing difficulties in individuals with underlying lung disease.  Be sure to discuss these issues with your doctor and under no circumstance should you take medications for the heart without the supervision of a doctor.
Below are some web sites with additional information about PVCs.
http://www.amhrt.org/Heart_and_Stroke_A_Z_Guide/prevent.html
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/nhlbi/cardio/other/gp/arrhyth.htm
http://www.MedicineNet.com/Forum.asp?li=USA&ag=Y&ArticleKey=1946
Information provided here is for general educational purposes only. Only your doctor can provide specific diagnoses and treatments. If you would like to be seen at the Cleveland Clinic, please Call 1 - 800 - CCF - CARE for an appointment at Desk F15 with a cardiologist





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