HOW DO I DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN THE FEEL OF PVC'S VERSUS BEING IN AFIB?
HELLO AND BEST WISHES FOR GOOD HEALTH TO ALL!
THIS WINTER I WAS RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL TO FIND OUT THAT I WAS IN AFIB WITH RAPPID VENTRICULAR RESPONSE TIMED AT ITS HIGHEST AT 195 BPM. CHEMICAL CARDIOVERSION WAS NOT A SUCCESS, SO I UNDERWENT ELECTRICAL CARDIOVERSION BACK TO SINUS RHYTHM.
SINCE THIS EPISODE, I HAVE BEEN AWARE OF FREQUENT PALPITATION SENSATIONS IN THE FORM OF DELAYED HEARTBEATS FOLLOWED BY HEAVY THUDS, TIGHTNESS IN THE CHEST ANDTHE NEED TO COUGH. I NEVER NOTICED THESE SENSATION BEFORE MY BEINT IN AFIB.
FOLLOW-UP EXAM BY CARDIOLOGIST WITH ECHO AND HOLTER TESTS SHOW SINUS RHYTHM WITH BENIGN YET FREQUENT PVC'S, PRIMARILY OF THE BIGEMINY NATURE.
THE CARDIOLOGIST TOLD ME I WAS FINE AND THAT DID NOT NEED FURTHER MONITORING UNLESS I WAS TO GO BACK INTO AFIB.
MY CONCERNS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
1. DID THE AFIB IRRITATE MY HEART TO CAUSE SUBSEQUENT PVC SYNDROME?
2. DO PVC'S ACT AS PORTALS THROUGH WHICH AFIB, VFIB, AND TACCYCHARDIAS CAN DEVELOP AND/OR MORE EASILY REOCCUR?
3. HOW DOI DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN THE IRREGULARITY OF AFIB VERSUS THE IRREGULARITY OF BIGEMINY? WOULD THE CONCURRENT PRESENCE OF ELEVATED HEART RATE OR TACHY BE THE DISCERNING FACTOR?
4. DOC. SAYS FREQUENT PVC'S DO NOT DAMAGE THE HEART MUSCLE, HOWEVER I AM READING OTHERWIZE ON THE INTERNET. WHAT GIVES ON THIS?
BTW, I AM A 42 YEAR OLD FEMALE IN WHAT I BELIEVED TO BE GOOD HEALTH. AFIB WAS DETERMINED TO BE TEMPORAL DUE TO SKEWED ELECTROLYTES, OVER THE COUNTER COLD MEDICINE, AND AN HERBAL REMEDY THAT I WAS TAKING FOR ENERGY.
1. Atrial fibrillation does not cause PVCs.
2. PVCs do not lead to atrial fibrillation. With a normal heart (EKG, echo, stress test), PVCs do not lead to Vfib. The majority of people have PVCs everyday -- sudden death is relatively rare.
3. Fast heart rates can help discern afib from PVC. If year heart rate is racing, it could be afib. There is no easy way to know.
4. Stop reading the internet on PVCs. Your doctors know what they are doing. If they think you are in danger, they will tell you. I am not sure how else to say that. The reality is that the people that don't worry about them, don't post or read up about them. That leaves the group of people with more symptoms and often more anxieties about them to post. The other problem is that you can find any opinion you want to about any topic with a google search.
You know whats interesting, when someone has uncontrollable hiccups that have gone on for days sometimes weeks, it make the papers. We who suffer every day every hour every minute with PVC's are told to not worry about it. You know what Doc easier said than done.
I understand that anything concerning the heart is more frightening than standard hiccups. However, it is very possible to have a benign heart condition. We tend to think if it's heart related it's going to be fatal. Not so. My heart has been erratic for my whole life with PAC's, PVC's and atrial tachy times. Yet I'm now 55. I've had 3 children and raised them successfully, work at a demanding job with wildlife and go to the gym. So it is possible to have a wacky heart and live a perfectly normal life. Hope this is encouraging.
I know your right. I just get tried of hearing don't worry about it.
Posting doesn't mean all we do is worry. I've learned a lot of coping skills from many people on this site. Reading others stories helps you know your not alone in this. Most people who don't have PVC's or other irregular rhythms really can't relate to what we go through. They can't imagine what its like. My friend said once she had a (one) skipped beat and freaked out, she thought she'd loose her mind if she had them all the time. They can sympathize up to a point but after awhile they may not want to hear about it anymore.
Yes, I know what you mean about folks that don't have much going heart wise. They don't get it. And if they do have a skipped beat or two, they think they know how you feel. I'm so fortunate that my heart has been weird all my life. Even after 3 ablations it acts up every day. But that seems normal to me. Another thing that has helped me stay calm is watching my step-Dad suffer with his end stage congestive heart failure. I feel so thankful I'm able to do all that I do in a day. If he goes out to lunch with us, he's exhausted. That's very sad.
Hang in there. Not everyone will be sensitive to your thoughts and concerns. Don't let them get you down. Just keep chugging and skipping along.
I had NO idea what PVC's were when I went to the ER with lightheadedness, shortness of breath, heart pounding, and exhaustion. After many tests, including echo (no significant regurgitation), blood tests (rule out heart attack), chest xray (normal), stress test (mild ischemia and took less than 7 minutes to achieve max heart rate - very abnormal), and CT scan angio (normal), I was told everything is fine. I just have pvc's and feel it more than others. My question was what is a pvc and what does it feel like?
3 months later, still short of breath, still exhausted, still lightheadedness, and various other symptoms, I was tired of the doctors that should know something telling me everything was ok....or anxiety. I went to Mayo Clinic where they were astounded at the number of pvc's I was having. At the rate they measured, 20,000 a day. And they listened and said this is NOT normal.
So, it is in a patient's best interest to question their doctor if it does not make sense. It is in a patient's best interest to understand their medical issues. In fact, the doctors at Mayo expressly told me to look up certain things on the Internet to research them.
I am very concerned when it is automatically assumed it is all in a patients head or anxiety when the doctor cannot explain what is wrong based upon test results.
And who wouldn't be anxious if overnight they became a shell of the person they were before? And the doctors who are being paid (aka $20 to post a question on this forum) are discounting them?
"Stop reading the internet on PVCs. Your doctors know what they are doing. If they think you are in danger, they will tell you. I am not sure how else to say that. The reality is that the people that don't worry about them, don't post or read up about them. That leaves the group of people with more symptoms and often more anxietiesGeneralized anxiety disorder
Stress and anxiety about them to post. The other problem is that you can find any opinion you want to about any topic with a google search. "
When I was discussing my PVC's with my family Dr.who has known me for about 35 years. He said PVC's will not harm me or do any damage to my heart, I said so it normal to have this? He said no it is not normal but it will not kill me. He also said it's not in my head or in my case anxiety or stress related. He said I have messed up electrical pathway. It's kind of like what comes first the chicken or the egg. What comes first the PVC's or the anxiety. It's different for everyone. But if you aren't prone to PVC's you could have all the stress in the world and your not going to get them. They are not all in your head. But adrenaline and anxiety will fuel the beast. PVC can weaken you emotionally.
I completely agree with you, as a patient you are your own best adovate. We have to be educated on the subject. We need to talk to others and learn how to deal with this situation, by seeing how other have adjusted to this problem.
I also believe it is a frustrating problem for the Dr's as well. There is really no 100% effective medicine or cure for them. Unless they are living in a PVC ridden body they will never known what we go through. I have learned you can't look to to many Drs for compassion these days. Hang in there
I return to Mayo next week to finalize testing for the diagnosis of my symptoms, of which one piece being addressed is the pvc's. And I'll be sure to post here what the final diagnosis/treatment is.
And I know there could be non-heart related issues causing the heart to behave improperly (ie electrical, autonomic nervous system). But just because the heart is structurally sound does not mean that mental health issues are causing the medical issues.
I think what really got me was this dr's response on multiple postings - all blaming anxiety. Dr's are too quick to blame anxiety for medical problems simply because they do not understand them. In addition, I have had some horrid experiences with doctors who are supposed to care about my medical well being but are only concerned with the bottom line ($$$). So to say that 'your doctor knows what they are doing' is not necessarily true.
I think your response is much more appropriate. These are not normal, but will not kill you. Could have many causes, and stress/anxiety can exacerbate them. Avoid stress/anxiety as much as possible, etc. And if you are concerned with your doctors response, get a second opinion by visiting a different doctor.
I think it is very important to be aware of your body. Just because you have a change in your number of PVCs, does not mean that you have a dangerous heart condition, but it could be a warning sign that something else has changed in your body.
I noticed a large increase in the number of PVCs I was having per day. I turned out to have an autonomic disorder. The PVCs were not my only symptom (dizziness was my primary symptom) but the increase in PVCs was a sign of bodily dysfuction. I reported these things to my doctor, but my 10 second EKG was normal, and my symptoms were therefor written off as being caused by stress or hysteria.
If it wasn't for the great amount of research I did on the interent, then I never would have been diagnosed. I basically had to diagnose myself first, then I insisted on having autonomic function testing done, it turned out to be abnormal.
Please don't hesistate to do your research, but make sure it is done well, and make sure you have good sources. Your doctors DO NOT always know what they are doing. I went to countless doctors who wrote me off as crazy before I was finally diagnosed and treated properly at Cleveland Clinic.
Sadiesunflower, so what tests do they perform to diagnose you with an autonomic nervous system disorder, and what is/are the effective treatment(s) for this condition? I've heard it is very hard to diagnose and very hard to treat, if at all possible to treat.
Raq1967, I hope you get the answers that you seek. I've been to many doctors, three different cardiologists and recently an E.P.. NONE of them seemed too concerned that I had pvcs. 12 years ago the frequency was about 10,000 per day, two years ago it was about 24,000/day, now it's estimated to be about 30,000. But the information and advice is still the same. I only bring this up because you said you went to the Mayo clinic and they were concerned that you had 20,000/day. That this wasn't normal (I agree) and that they wanted to investigate as to why you have this many. It is nice to have a doctor take an interest in your condition isn't it, to want to help you, but isn't that exactly what you mean't by some doctors chasing your $$$?
I hope your results with the Mayo Clinic are good, and I really hope you will be kind enough to post them here. We do know our own bodies best and we do have to pursue answers to our questions, but if you've asked the question a dozen different ways to a dozen different professionals and the response is the same, doesn't that lend weight to what you seek?
I had a tilt table table test, QSART, deep breathing, and valsalva.
The easiest way to screen for autonomic problems is to take a standing and sitting heart rate and blood pressure. This test isn't done often enough by physicians. I probably went to about a dozen doctors complaining of dizziness before one thought to take my standing and sitting blood pressure.
2. DO PVC'S ACT AS PORTALS THROUGH WHICH AFIB, VFIB, AND TACCYCHARDIAS CAN DEVELOP AND/OR MORE EASILY REOCCUR?
This is an *excellent* question. I started out with a very healthy heart and "benign PVC's". Whatever caused the PVC's progressed to Brady-tachy, and now I have to live on a pacemaker. Sadly, a pacemaker seldom helps PVC's. I think it's high time that PVC's are not treated as trivial, and the underlying cause discovered before serious damage is done.
One thing I've noticed about myself is that when my weight goes over 220lbs AND workout less than 3 times a week, I start having more PVCS. When I weigh less than 220 and workout more I hardly have any. Yes, I have also had those entire tests and nothing came up. Yet PVC's are no fun. I will say that for me stress and lack of sleep can also be a factor in having PVCs or Atril Fib.
Years ago when I was single I went up to visit Canada with this young lady that I really liked in College. My heart would just beat different (but normal) when ever I was around her. So the entire time we were together my emotions were up and my heart beat to another tune.
Well one day we decided to go swimming up in the mountains (I love to swim). The water was extremely cold, and I assume that the stream must have been coming from an underground glacier. Anyway as normal I stayed in and swam for a long time and I could feel my heart racing. My body was so cold yet I was having so much fun and I really liked this girl. (SO I IGNORED THE WARNING SIGNS)
When I finally came out of the water I felt "light chested" and my chest felt like an "out of tune car" or a car that needed a "tune up job." Well I was so scared yet, I had been through it before and I was so tired of paying money only to be told that nothing was wrong. So I followed my cardiologist instructions and rested in bed. Eventually my heart converted on its own. (Back then I would average AFib about ounce every 18 months until I figured out how to help keep from getting it).
The last time I got Afib was when I had stayed up very late and woke up early. Then my wife cracked a joke while I was drinking tea, and the tea went down the wrong way and got stuck in my lungs and I could not breathe for over a minute. Too me I felt like I was gone, so I started praying for the Lord's mercy and prepared for the worse as I tried to blow out the tea. When I finally did I felt my heart coming to a complete stop so I ran out of the room and GUESS WHAT? YEP, AFib.
Any way I'm sorry for the long winded true stories, but this is what happened to me and it seems to be the same with the PVCs: weight, sleep, stress, and working out. When I control these I seem to reduce my risk of AFib and I am able to control the frequency of having PVCs. Also, drinking 10 glasses of water a day, taking CQ10, and eating foods with lots of potassium like dried prunes, apricots, and oranges helps.
Same story...Gas build up in my stomach and the next thing I know I have palps which go away after I burp. I have Afib and have had an Ablation. It has been 30 weeks since I have had an Afib episode but the gas/palps thing continues. I have had every heart test known to man and my cardiologist told me to go away after the ablation as I am fine. I exercise hard almost every day. I do know that if you take an anti arrymythic like Flecinide as I do it will cause upset stomach, gas and then palps. Stress and anxiety seem to play a huge part in all of this. I quit drinking coffee, quit my glass of wine with dinner. I think everything you can do to change your lifestyle will ultimately affect the palps. Afib is a mystery. No one seems to know why it happens. I am 66 and they just started one day after a huge bout of stress and a way too hard work out. The palps scare the hell out of me, but I have a feeling I have had them all my life but only now after Afib do I focus on every little twitch in my chest. This kind of situation is really tough to treat as I believe it takes a combination of good Cardiology, good life habits and some work on mental health to control stress and anxiety.
My Mayo visit was AMAZING! Finally doctors who listened and respected me. They confirmed that my suspicions were correct. And instead of looking at me like a crazy lady hoping to be sick, they recognized that I was an intelligent person who was looking for a root cause so she could begin treating the symptoms.
The cardio electro physiologist confirmed my pvc's are benign. He diagnosed me with post viral partial dysautonomia. He prescribed beta blockers to calm the heart (pvc's and increases) and recommended the typical orthostatic intolerance treatments (increase fluid intake, salt tablets, recline, etc)
The neurologist who specializes in dysautonomia also confirmed this and provided additional clarification that it is orthostatic intolerance, primarily postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. He agreed for the most part with the cardio ep.
In response to this statement: "We do know our own bodies best and we do have to pursue answers to our questions, but if you've asked the question a dozen different ways to a dozen different professionals and the response is the same, doesn't that lend weight to what you seek?" I would hope so but unfortunately my experience says no. Too often if the issue is not common, the doctors are not willing to do the research to figure out the unusual illnesses.
That is why Mayo was wonderful - they wanted to find the answer and weren't satisfied saying 'I don't know" like my previous doctors were. While Mayo was more expensive (thank goodness for insurance), it was SO worth it because they provided a diagnosis and treatment plan.
My previous doctors based their opinion on an unknown doctor's review and results of my initial tilt table test. This unknown doctor did not understand orthostatic intolerance and did a HORRID job of reviewing my test. Because this doctor's results said 'negative' no other doctor was willing to look beyond that and question his abilities....until Mayo. They were willing to look at the actual test data rather than someone elses interpretation. And the actual test data confirmed that I do have orthostatic intolerance.
Below is a link to an article on POTS. And here is a quote that says it all.
"POTS patients have been reported to suffer from a degree of functional impairment similar to that seen in conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure, yet these patients are all-too-frequently misdiagnosed as having severe anxiety or panic disorder"
Too many doctors are too quick to diagnose with mental issues when they cannot figure out the physyical cause. My cardiologist was ready to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome after only 1 month of being sick...how is that chronic? And its left to us patients to push the doctors to get answers.
This was a long post - but moral of the story.....not all doctors know everything and if doesn't sound right....find another doctor. The internet has alot of valuable information (also has some garbage) and patients should educate themselves on the valuable information. And should know what is garbage or valuable information on the internet and in a doctors office.
Another unrelated example. I've been told in the past by an allergist that there is no correlation between the ears and throat. Apparently he had never heard of the eustacian tube....and I never took my child to him again because he was not intelligent enough to treat my child.
There are many good doctors - educate yourself and find a good doctor.
Your posts are awesomely informative. Not ONE doctor here has yet to put me through any test to determine if I have postural orthostatic intolerance, which self-diagnosed, I believe I have, as I always get pounding in my ears when I lie down, or stand, etc. But I also have constant PVCs as well as constant belching. Neither is present without its partner in crime. Quite scary, and when the PVCs happen, usually 100 or more times per day, I now get that blood pounding in my ears as well.
I went to the Instant Care Center around noon today with a severe case of belching and chronic PVCs. When I got there, after sitting for a half hour, they completely vanished. Therefore, the EKG showed nothing (especially when they only run the thing for 30 seconds on a foot and a half of paper...). They did bloodwork as well to rule out any heart damage, and of course, everything came back "within normal limits" according to the doctor. His remedy? Quit caffeine.
I've been having PVCs since I was 18, I am now 50 (female). They have definitely changed in severity and occurrence over those years. Sometimes I will have more than 10 per minute these days. I cannot understand why they stopped while at the doctor's office, and they started up again with the same intensity upon my arrival back at home... most will naturally attribute this to anxiety, but I woke up this morning, and the first thing that happened was a skip and a belch... I don't think that I dreamt it up!
Wore a holter monitor last Monday and spent most of the day "documenting" my episodes. I have yet to hear from anyone, and the machine konked out at around 2 a.m. when the time was no longer being displayed, it said "F1" and the electrode "LA" had pooted out. An hour later, it showed a different electrode had gone wacky, and still an hour later, a 3rd one died out.... I hope I got enough "episodes" in the 10 hours the machine actually worked....
Some days are good, and some days are REALLY bad for me, mostly bad though.
Getting tired of belching on nothing and skipping my life away.
I wish there was a cure, or someone who thought I wasn't making it up, or having anxiety attacks (I've had those and they're nothing like PVCs...). Anyways, thanks for your posts, it gives me hope :))
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