I started having PVCs about a year and a half ago when I graduated from college. At first it was just an occasional skip now and then, although it freaked me out enough to get me to see a Cardiologist. They did an echo and found nothing wrong. Well then half a year later, I started having them very frequently for an entire week. Unless I was completely rested, I was getting them maybe every 10 seconds. Then a week later, they suddenly disappeared and only got them occasionally. But since then I've gotten a one or two week long episode of this every couple of months. I went to the ER where they did an EKG and found PVCs, but sent me home. I saw the cardiologist later that week who ordered a cardiac MRI, but found no abnormalities. I even had a stress test done, unfortunately after the episode of PVCs and found nothing serious either.
Now though, I've been having these frequent skipping beats since the beginning of February and doesn't seem like it'll go away!!! They seem to be worst while walking, but disappear at very high heart rates like when I climb uphill or ran. It seems whenever my heart rate is in the range of 80-110 BPM or when I get up or sit down, I get these PVCs. Middle of last month I decided to see another cardiologist who repeated an ECHO and also found nothing wrong.
What should I do? I'm worried, especially since the PVCs haven't gone away in over a month!
I have gotten PVCs for 20+ years and I love to run. I DO get PVCs during the start of a run...it is MUCH better if I start out slow...as long as you have been checked out I would just start out REAL slow and build up excercise. Walking is just as good. DON"T LET THE PVCS WWIN BY NOT EXCERCISING...IT WILL MAKE THEM WORSE IN THE LONG RUN...
My cardio feels that excercise will always help benign PVCs and I agree, especially long term.
I've had pvcs for about 20+ years also, and really, in the last two years haven't had a break from 20,000+/day (except on rare occasion they go away completely for a day--baffles me). Before that it was in the range of 10,000/day. I thought nothing could be worse than having them double. But really its not so bad once you get used to them.
I think PVC man posted in another thread that once YOU feel like you have control back, they seem to lessen, and I couldn't agree more--but for me its the sensation that lessens not the pvcs. Either way its a good thing. A recent echo was clear, so I'm feeling pretty good again.
And by the way, the only time I can stop the pvcs is when I get my heart rate up around 120 or 130 bpm. So exercising does slow them. I have been told people with pvcs have an athlete's heart--it wants to be exercised. And I have been told that higher heart rates associated with exercise cause the accessory pathway not to be able to fire--the regular wiring of the heart takes over because it has no chance to fire inappropriately. So I like to get on the treadmill and walk away an hour. I hope you will feel confident enough to do so too with your great cardiac test results.
PVCs in themselves, in a person that has had adequate testing and a structurally sound heart, (and you easily seem to fall into that category), are of no great significance. Ironically, there are many people walking around in the world that are experiencing thousands of PVCs, yet have no awareness of them.
My wife works for the Cardiologist that I see. She says that they'll get some patients with so many PVCs that she can't take their pulse. After the Doctor has reviewed the EKG, and has the results of any additional testing that he felt appropriate, he sometimes takes the patient's pulse at their wrist, feeling the PVCs, and asks the patient if they have any palpitations. She says that, not infrequently, they say no. They cannot feel the PVCs like you and I can, yet they are having them. These patients were often referred to the Cardiologist due to their Family Doctor having discovered the arrhythmia, perhaps on a routine examination. If the Cardiologist believes that the patients heart is healthy, he may not even tell them that they have an arrhythmia, for fear of them obsessing about it.
Just because you can feel them doesn’t mean they're dangerous. Some arrhythmias have no symptoms, you could not feel anything even if you took the person’s pulse. Yet their heart can have a dangerous instability in it’s rhythm that is likely to decay into a dangerous rhythm at any time. You have been examined and found to have a stable heart rhythm, despite the nuisance of the feeling.
Most of us suffer from the Human Will problem. If we don’t want it, we shouldn’t have to live with it. Unfortunately, benign arrhythmias can be a bugger to eliminate. At one time, any arrhythmia was treated, Anti-arrhythmic drugs were dispensed. Certainly we must benefit from such an enterprise. Probably the better part of the 20th Century was spent with such a mentality. Then came, in the 1970’s or there around, the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trail, or CAST. An in depth examination of the treatment of Arrhythmias. Well, they discovered that more people in the treatment group were dying that in the untreated group. Ooooops, that wasn’t too cool. The study was stopped.
Although I am sure with the testing and monitoring available today, as well as lessons learned the hard way, many people being treated with Anti- Arrhythmic medication are being done so safely, the fact remains that many of the drugs used to treat arrhythmias can, in fact, cause other types of arrhythmias. Out of the pot and into the fire. Prudence dictates that, in individuals with known healthy hearts, escalation of the treatment of otherwise benign Arrhythmias can be worse for the patient than not treating them at all.
Beta Blockers are common, and relatively safe (excellent track record) drugs used to treat some arrhythmias, and are often a first approach to treating people with benign Arrhythmias that cause the patient undue apprehension. They can (though not always) reduce the number of PVCs, they will reduce the heart rate and they will reduce the forcefulness of the heart’s contraction, which helps to reduce the degree to which the patient feels the arrhythmia.
If you wish to try to reduce the number of PVCs that you get, try:
Getting more sleep. Eliminating ALL CAFFEINE, in coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc. Avoiding over-the-counter medications, such as decongestants and stimulant diet pills. Avoiding unusual vitamins and supplements, even so called, Natural Supplements, such as Ginko Biloba or Saint John’s Wort. Although Magnesium and Potassium have an influence on the heart’s rhythm, too much of them can cause an arrhythmia as well, best to avoid those unless recommended by your Doctor.
The PVCs haven’t gone away in over a month? I just recently came off my last episode of PVCs, it was about a year in length. 600 + per day. I had Trigeminy periodically, two normal beats and a PVC, repeated for an hour or so at a time. My Cardiologist wasn’t in the slightest concerned. I had all the testing. He knew the results. I have had PVCs since I was 15, I worry about them as much every time I get an episode. The Doctors kept saying that there was nothing to worry about. I’m 50 now, still worrying, but I can attest that 35 years worth of Doctors were right about it not being serious.
To better set your mind at ease, ask your Cardiologist to do a Holter Monitor or 30 Loop Event Monitor.
You are very informative and intelligent when it comes to PVC's. I guess so, having them for 35 years! How do you deal with them when you get them?
I am 30 and have been diagnosed with the PVC's. I wore a 24/hr holter monitor an it showed 4,280 with 926 of those occurring in just 1 hour alone, while I was sleeping! That is freaky huh!
I went to the cardiologist again yesterday because I was having bigimeny and trigimeny and was feeling lightheaded. I brought my husband with me this time. This is the 3rd time I have seen my cardio is 2 weeks! Once for an evaluation of my holter, and bloodwork and the 2nd time for a stress/echo. Then for more reassurance on these pvc's, because of my day on Wednesday with the bigimeny, etc...
Well, she really is a good cardiologist, but when she walked in the door I could tell she was frustrated at me. She asked how I was doing and when I started talking, she kind of just put her foot down and started telling my husband,
"Your wife has BENIGN PVC's and she refuses to believe that. I offered her Atenolol and she refuses to take that for fear something might happen while on it. I want to help your wife, but she refuses to listen. There is nothing more drug wise I can offer her since the other class of drugs (which you mentioned above, Artaud) can cause more serious side-effects that the PVC's themselves. Then she said that she had pvc's herself and they went away after a short time. But the point was that a lot of people get them, but not everyone feels them. And finally she reccommened I see a counselor for help in dealing with the anxiety about them. She says she doesn't mean to be cruel or unsympathetic, but that she sees over 500 patients and a lot have these pvc's. And that I could call her anytime for reassurance or if I have a problem and she would always call me right back, excvept on the days she is really busy with clinicals."
As she was telling my husband some of this, I just started crying. I know how these feel and I get them ALL DAY, EVERYDAY and they ARE scary to me, whether benign or not! I hope they are benign!!!!!
When folks tell me to stop worrying and ignore them, it is not that easy! I want to so bad and I really do well with them for the most part, in that I can distract myself, play with my kids, go for a walk, etc, but feeling them all the time is a constant reminder and it is hard sometimes to ignore them.
It's just hard to believe that something so funky, like these skipped beats can just happen in a normal heart! I have been told my heart is healthy and everything looks great, but still the fear is here at times. I am only about 9 months (that I have noticed, besides the occassional "past" skipped beats here and there) into feeling these everyday, all day, which for me is ENOUGH! ;o)
The Atenolol is sitting in the pharmacy waiting for me to pick up. Should I take them? Seems like it helps others on here. My Cardio told me I can even take half of rte 25mg for awhile, until I feel comfortable taking the entire 25mg.
Any advice on "The coping part" would be appreciated. I just want these to go away, but I know that is what we ALL want and it just doesn't happen like that. My Cardiologist told me yesterday.......
"These WILL just go away." They will???? I sure hope so!
I've had PVc's for 9 years now. They are absolutely bizarre. I feel all of them ,contrary to what doctors say. Its like an electrical storm in your chest, and feels so good when they calm down. I have had them disappear for up to two years. They are back again with a vengeance. I try hard to remember that they do go away, but its tough.I believe it has something to do with our "vagal tone" and any thing that ramps it up like eating , exercise, or anxiety will make it happen. It would be nice to have an effective treatment, but as you can see, some people have had it for 30+ years and still no change in the treatment. The hardest part is that the doctors come off as not caring and you feel helpless. They are satisfied with the prognosis that you are not going to die from them. Very frustrating attitude.
Well there is hope and despair. I had PVCs for a year. Then they went away. I was afraid to think about it because I thought they might come back. Two years later they came back. They've been around for a month. Then I said screw it, I'm not going to let them ruin my life, if my heart stops, too bad. So once I stopped freaking out about them, they seemed to get less irritating. Sort of like a series of burps no one can hear. Weird analogy, I know. Whatever works. Good luck.
If I were you, I would give the Atenolol a try. I do believe, if your Doctor OKs it, that taking half a pill for a while to get used to it may be a good way to start. I have never felt anything but a little sedate when first taking Beta Blockers. I also get tired if I take 600 mg ibuprofen (for headaches). (I am not suggesting ibuprofen for your arrhythmia ;-)
Atenolol will slow your heart somewhat, often reducing the number of PVCs. It will also decrease the forcefulness of your heart's contraction, which should help you not to feel the PVCs as much, even if they still occur. Beta Blockers, such as Atenolol, are also used to help reduce Anxiety.
Beta Blockers reduce the effects of Adrenaline on your heart. I periodically get angry driving in the car, and I remember my heart beating out of my chest, and PVCs occurring at this time. With the Beta Blockers, I still get angry (sad, but true), but the effects on my heart have been greatly reduced.
As to your PVCs going away with your heart at a more rapid rate, this sounds like a good thing. I did not want to take my last stress test due to the number of PVCs that I was having at the time. Even when I was hooked up, waiting to get on the Treadmill, my heart was getting many PVCs, I could see and hear them on the EKG. When my heart got to about 110 beats per minute, I stopped getting them. My Doctor said that was a good thing. My heart's natural pacemaker was discharging faster than the source of the PVCs could. A PVC can be generated by an irritated spot on your heart. This spot discharges and causes the rest of the heart to follow suit, like dominos. The irritated spot can go away by itself one day. I had a PVC episode, most recently, for more than a year, then 2 weeks after my stress test, they went from 600 + per day to less than 20.
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