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v-tach
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v-tach

What a wonderful forum!!!!

I am a 40 year old female with a history of PVC's, PAC's and short runs of non-sustained v-tach (which was documented on a holter monitor 8 years ago).  

I have since had every cardiac workup imaginable including an EP study which they could not make my heart go into any funky rhythm.

After my most recent visit to the EP doctor, he told me that since I have a normal heart that it is no big deal to have short runs of PVC's together and what was abnormal was my reaction to these.  (I have read enough things in medical books and looked at a lot of things on the internet to know that v-tach is a big deal though).  I am terrified!!!!!  He also stated that if they were to put holters on everyone out there that 10% of these people would return their monitors with short runs of v-tach, but most people would not even feel it????  I find that hard to believe.

1.  Is it possible that when the short run of v-tach was caught on my holter that it could have been something else (maybe atrial fib or something - since they have not caught anything else except a short run of 4 PVC's on a previous king of hearts monitor)?  How bad are runs of 4 PVC's????

2.  Is this true that short runs of PVC's are not dangerous in a normal heart?  

3.  I have suffered from anxiety for years because of this diagnose of v-tach and I am so scared everytime I feel my heart skip that it is going to stop.  What sort of med would your recommend for a person that is completely obsessed with these things now?  I have tried beta blockers but I do not do well on them.  Should I be on anxiety meds instead?  As I say, this is ALL I think about now (my heart).

5.  I have read that 300,000 Americans die each year from some form of irregular heart beat.  Do these people suffer from arrythmia or some form of heart disease?

I really appreciate your forum.  Any light you could shed on this issue for me would be very much appreciated.

Thanks!!!!
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1. It could have been a short run of afib, but is much more likely to be what your doctor said - just PVCs. Asymptomatic short runs of PVCs in a structurally normal heart without coronary artery disease pose no real risk.
2. Yes, they will not damage your heart.
3. I would have recommended beta blockers. Anxiety medication may be appropriate, not for the PVCs but rather for your level of anxiety. I don't know you, but from your letter would tend to agree with your doctor. It is very abnormal to worry all the time about your heart - I would say this even for people who really do have serious heart disease. You are scared of dying from these PVCs, but keep in mind that you have had this condition for years  and even without treatment nothing bad has happened to you yet. Usually, a serious condition if left untreated leads to problems - this is not the case with you.
4. Most of these people die from arrhythmias due to severe, undiagnosed underlying coronary artery disease.
26 Comments
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Hi Cindy,

I also have anxiety and high blood pressure.  I'm 34 now and my previous Dr. started me on Xanax first, thinking that the stress caused the elevated pressure, then put me on Norvasc after realizing that I really have HBP caused by factors other than stress.

If you have had anxiety for YEARS, as you say, the resulting stress alone could be somewhat detrimental to the heart.  I suggest you consult your Dr. about an anxiety med.  I recently started taking Buspar, which isn't as addicting as Xanax, but can cause headaches and nausea, since it addresses the true cause of anxiety (imbalance of serotonin in the brain).  Talk to your Dr about what might be best for you.

Best of luck to you,

Dave
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Avatar_n_tn
Cindy - you sound just like me.  I too have pvcs and runs of vent. tachacardia - scares me stupid.  From readings on a monitor (although I didn't manage to catch any of the big stuff) my cardiologist has diagnosed that I (possibly) have "right ventricular outflow focus" - haven't a clue what this is and he says that "he is not worried about me".  Needless to say - I am very worried and living a life of fear.
I find that stress and food can be a trigger - I have a hiatus hernia and so when my gullet gets inflamed then palpitations quickly follow.
I will be very interested to read the answer to your question from the cardiologists.
This is a great service and I have learned so much from it ........(maybe too much.......).
Best Wishes
Julie

p.s.  I have been having these irregularities since being a teenager and I am now 44.  My attacks are often very different - are yours?
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Hi Dave.  Thanks for your reply.  

I also tried Buspar but I got such bad headaches that I went off it.  I think it also made my palpitations worse!!  I really hate being on any meds but if I could find something that would help me I would try it.  

I also take Ativan at bedtime (.05 mg) - a very low dose (is that the same as Xanax?), to help me sleep, because I sometimes wake up at night and my heart is skipping and I really panic and cannot go back to sleep.  It is a vicious cycle!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Busy board today!!!  I have been having these darn things since my early 20's.  I hate them.  I have all different feelings as well.  I sometimes get the big thuds every couple of beats and get a lot of just singular big skips as well.  I also get fast hard heart rates for no reason and sometimes just a fluttery feeling.  Docs say I am super senstive (yeah right!).  Who wouldn't be with a funny beat like this.
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Hi Cindy...I know how you feel!!  I was diagnosed last year with having panic disorder!!  More than likely a chemical inbalance!!  I worry so much about my heart too...I'm 30 yrs old!!  I really think stress has a lot to do with it!!  As far as the pvc's..I've only had it once and that was about 3 weeks ago...freaked me out!!  And of course I went straight to the ER!!  Everything was ok!!  I think my was triggered by what I had eaten that nite!! (Burger King's mozzeralla chesse sticks and jalapeno poppers)!!  LOL  Needless to say I haven't eaten them since, & I haven't expericened them since either!!  I've cut back on my caffine though & am trying to quit smoking~!!  Before I got on meds and started seeing a theraphist, every little pain in my chest would send me into a panic attack!!  I thought I was having a heart attack!!  I've taken paxil and zoloft, both have worked well for me, but everyone is different, the xanax would just knock me out and then I would feel weak for a couple of days!!  But I'm now med free and theraphist free!!  I've learned how to control the panic attacks, which is a big key is recovering from panic disorder!!  Anyways I'm rambling now, just wanted to let you now, I know how u feel!!  Hang in there!!  BTW...what is v-tach???  Thanks...smiles to ya!  

Valerie  
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Avatar_n_tn
I have unsustained vtach caught on monitor as well (5 beats) along with a little atrial fib PVC's and PAC's.  All the tests have shown my heart is fine.  I use to be totally focused on them until one day I said is it really worth it?  What good is life if you are always worried about your heart's little abnormalities? If I drop dead, so be it. I run many miles every week and I am still with the living.  What I don't want is clogged arteries, and that is probably more likely to kill me than skip beats.

Good luck to you all

Steve
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Avatar_n_tn
Last night I counted six hard beats in a row, then 4 then 2.    It happens when I lie on my back and take a deep breath. ( I can actually make it happen when I breath in if I'm on my back) It isn't the normal sinus rhythm, it is 5-6 early heard beats in a row.  I've been checked out and see a cardiologist yearly for treadmills and echo's.  He says not to worry.  I try not to.  I'm sure it is probably that V-tach.  I feel absolutely normal when it happens, it just scares me!

Does anyone notice more when they are on their back?

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Avatar_n_tn
I have had v-tach and pvc's and pac's for years'  I also have valve disease which is a big contributing factor.  I try not to let it worry me too much, in fact my cardiologist is more worried about these arrythmias than I am. I have structural heart damage and and enlarged heart and I am still here.  Try to focus on the fact that you have no structural abnormalities.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had the Ross Procedure on 8-8-00 and I too had a short bout of v-tach. I had five beats that were caught on a monitor about four weeks post-op and, guess what, it was serious enough for me to be back in the hospital for a lomger stay than the one I had for the surgery itself.
I had the EP study and the whole nine yards. They found nothing and told me not to worry. And you know, I am not worrying. I believe that if there was a problem of v-tach they would have found it. The just decided my meds weren't right and they said five beats of PVC's are way different than v-tach, even thogh they look the same basically on the monitor.
Hope this helps.

God Bless,

ben
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, everyone who has any kind of problem with your heart should stay on top of it..I'm a 44yr old woman who had a heart attack in May..they gave me TPA then I went into V-tach...the doctor had to run in and punch my chest...I was then transferred to another hospital where the did angioplasty...I know have irregular heart beats that the doc said 'don't worry about' yeah right! take care
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Dee - sorry to read your story and hope that you are doing OK.  Just a question - what is TPA?
I notice the cardiologist has not answered the original question yet - (I'm very interested to read his/her response).
Best Wishes
Julie
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Avatar_n_tn
Cindy et al:

Unfortunately, you only know if you are a candidate for an ICD if you have a serious V-Tach event or if you have a full EP study where they put you into a fast rhythm and then see if they can use drugs to get you out. Even that is no guarantee as studies have been done to show that drugs are not as successful at preventing Sudden Death as oppossed to ICDs. BUT THAT IS THE WORST CASE SCENARIO!

It is true that most people have skipped beats, but to me it's like telling a skin cancer patient that most people have moles. AND, usually they attribute PVCs, PACs, etc. to serious structural heart concerns.

So, just keep on top of it. Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Julie,

I've been having supraventricular tachycardia, pvcs, pacs.. even with medication, but medication has made a big difference, particularly with the tachycardia. I might be facing valve surgery pretty soon, and I am not looking forward to it.  I have lived with heart disease since my mid-20s,when I had my first heart surgery, and I'm now 47.  Coming to terms with heart disease was initially very, very difficult for me. I was traumatized. Over time, though, I've managed to live a full life and without giving heart disease much thought.

I don't know if this helps, but to live is to live with risk of all kinds.  I know maybe there's a higher risk for me in roller blading or riding a bike or cross country skiing than there is for most people.  I love these sports though, so with the thought that I want to be happy doing what I love to do, I just go ahead.  I don't take all risks with my cardiac (and other) health - I try to eat reasonably well and I don't do heavy lifting.  I guess mainly what I want to say is don't be too discouraged, because being happy is attainable despite risk, loss, and other hardship. I've seen it with me and others too - more I think as I get older. Hope things get better soon for you!
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Avatar_n_tn
Cindy,

I read your article and understand your concerns.  You have valid
concerns, however you do not have to worry.  I have been in Emergency Medicine now for over 10 years.  Yes the runs of VT could be life threatening if there was a major underlying condition. It sounds like you have gone through every possible test to find the problem.  And I applaud you for going through with the EP study,  because most people would not have  done it.

Since you have been living with this problem for near 8 years.
Chances are you WILL live to be a very old woman.  There are many many reasons and causes for VT. In my opinion, if they could not induce VT in the EP lab with the strong and powerful drugs. Chances are you will NOT have any problems with sustained VT.
Your body can not make enough adrenalin compared to the amount they pumped into your heart during that EP study.

Some people actually do walk around and live with runs of VT everyday with no problem.  But keep in mind that nothing in life is guaranteed. Be grateful that the problem was found on the holter monitor. Because most monitors do come back problem free, when there actually is a problem.

Just follow your Doctors orders, comply with your meds, get plenty of sleep, stay away from chocolate, caffiene, and coke products. Watch the stress in your life, be slow to anger, and I think you will be perfectly fine.
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Avatar_n_tn
I don't believe it is true that "usually they attribute PACs, PVCs, etc. to serious structural heart concerns."  Do you have any medical research for this belief?
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What a nice reply Green.  Thank you so much, you have eased my mind tremendously.  You sound like you know what you are talking about.  I actually have gone through 2 EP studies because of my persistance to my family doctor.  I am driving everyone crazy with this.  Do you know of any anti-anxiety meds that do not make the heart act up at all?  I have tried Buspar (too many headaches), and Paxil (made my heart skip worse).  I am lost as what to do next.  I would love to put this behind me and not have to let it control my life.

Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
No, "I" don't have medical research, but even see the post above where it says "Yes the runs of VT could be life threatening if there was a major underlying condition." When I asked my cardiologist why I had VT after living a "clean" life (eating right, exercising, etc), he said that it could be a virus, but most likely was something else like MI, CAD, etc.

Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just went through my 4th ablation to try and get rid of of short runs of VT and PVC's.  It again failed.  I have idiopathic VT in the right outflow track of my heart.  They can't fix it because it is too close to the right bundle branch.  So now I need to accept this stuff.  I've had Non-sustained VT and PVC's for 3 years.  They tell me it won't kill me.  I sure hope not. I also have anxiety.  I've found that clonzepan is a good drug that doesn't effect the heart, but gives some releif.  It's easy to say not to worry to somebody else, but in reality, most of us should just quit worrying.  In most of our cases, time should have taught us by now, that this isn't going to kill us.  But I know all about worry.  I hope you can realize that this isn't going to kill you.

Ben \]
***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you so much for your reply.  You have no idea how much you have eased my mind.  I am really going to try to put these things behind me.  I suppose I just have to believe what the doctors say and not doubt them so much.

Thank you so much CCF.
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To all of you with pvc problems I understand how it feels Very terrible. I have had 6 years of pacs and pvcs mostly pacs sometimes thousands a day. They are are the most miserable thing for me It sometimes almost seems impossible to do anything. I have also had short runs of v tach and a bout with atrial fib. which was no fun at all.I am only 29 and have to little children. They claim they dont see anything structuraly wrong with my heart but my holters have seen thousands. Truly scary when they go on for months without end. Im just wondering if anyone out there has had they beats to this degree. Feel like the only one .
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I too have pvc's and they are really getting me down.  Of course some days are better than others.  I have been wearing an event monitor for 5 days and just sent it in today, so will see soon what they say. My drs. just say that they are benign PVC's and not to worry.  Yeah, that is hard.  Does anyone have pain with them.  I just get sore at the top of my shoulder by my neck.  It could also be stress, but would love a reply from somebody.  Thanks and lets all try to not worry.  The dr. said he might try medication too.  Anyone out there helped by it????  Let's all have a good day now.
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Avatar_n_tn
To all of you with pvc problems I understand how it feels Very terrible. I have had 6 years of pacs and pvcs mostly pacs sometimes thousands a day. They are are the most miserable thing for me It sometimes almost seems impossible to do anything. I have also had short runs of v tach and a bout with atrial fib. which was no fun at all.I am only 29 and have to little children. They claim they dont see anything structuraly wrong with my heart but my holters have seen thousands. Truly scary when they go on for months without end. Im just wondering if anyone out there has had they beats to this degree. Feel like the only one .
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Avatar_n_tn
Cindy --

I wish that I had the answers to all of your questions and could help with your anxiety, but I'm new to this ventricular tachycardia thing.........was just diagnosed with it last Thursday, after INSISTING on a stress / treadmill EKG.  (Prior to that, I'd had a holter monitor, an EKG, and an echocardiogram -- all which came back fine and normal with a few PVCs - and was told not to worry!).  I'm a 37 year old female, past marathon runner and triatlete; eat everything (i.e., not really a fat or cholestrol watcher), and was in a high stress / demanding industry for years (which I've just left last week).

My thoughts are:  is your high level of anxiety causing your PVCs, etc....?  Is it possible for you to simultaneously treat your anxiety as well as your heart?  Are you open to meditation? (that's what several people have suggested to me - historically I would have said no, but today I may decide to give it a try!)  Aside from meds and surgical procedures, I have heard that biofeedback could help. I don't know what it is exactly, but perhaps it's worth a try.

My EPCardiologist will do the ablation procedure on the 21st of Dec; but for now has me on 50 mg. beta-blocker at night; NO exercise or caffeine (including chocolate), and basically has told me to "be mellow."  I am currently a bit more worried about the ablation procedure than the actual V-tach itself.  And my heart rate did go to 300 while on the treadmill, running on an 18% grade, and going 5 miles per hour.   Needless to say, ALL of the cardiologists and doctors were very very concerned, since as you know, this V Tach thing is VERY rare, especially in young - middle aged otherwise healthy people.

I don't know if I was much help, but it's always nice to hear from others who share a simular condition -- especially since the data says that only 2 in 10,000 people have this!  And my EPCardiologist, Dr. Larry Wolff, has only seen 4 cases of this in his 20 years of practice......................................I think that it sounds like a good thing that they couldn't ilicit that VTach when you were doing your EP study.  Try to relax and tell yourself that you're ALIVE -- and keep on living! (that is, without fear!!)
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Avatar_n_tn
Started with pvc's 3years ago after the death of my sister. She died at age 43 and my father died 12years ago at age 57. All heart related. I work for four heart surgeons and know to much but not enough. Started with high blood pressure and then came the pvc's. Went to a cardiologist and he ran an ekg on me and said they were not harmful. He put me on a drug named sectral 200mg twice a day. I feel great. I also want to say that I had been to another doctor who tried many drugs but could not control the pvc's The surgeons that I work for said to go to this doctor that dealt with these problems. His putting me on sectral changed my life. Does anyone else feel cold and have a bout of diarrhea after a run of pvc's or v tach? I had something last night that scared me . v tach I think , lasted a few seconds but was real. Had stopped sectral cause of pregancy but baby is 6 weeks old and called to see if I could start sectral again . Answer was yes ----Thank God!!!!!! P.S. Look sectral up on net read some good news.
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Avatar_n_tn
When I have my episodes I take a quarter tab of xanax (.06 mg.)
it seems to work for me.  This is my own remedy, not physician directed.

Good Luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, Atrial-Fib was started.
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A related discussion, anxiety or heart ? or both ? long 14 yrs was started.
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