Aa
A
A
Close
Avatar universal
Heart PVCs/PACs - I'm desperate PLEASE HELP!
I get PVCs and PACs nearly every day and I feel EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM. These awful palpitations started 2-3 years ago (along with lots of other medical conditions). For a while there they seemed to be getting better but now they're getting worse again :(.

My electrolyte and magnesium levels are normal (mid range). I am not anemic. My blood pressure is low-normal. I cut sugar out of my diet (in order to get rid of the PVCs) to the point where sometimes I get hypoglycemic. I don't consume caffeine. I drink plenty of fluids and exercise regularly. I am normal weight and I eat relatively healthy. I take magnesium and co-q10 every day. I've had multiple echocardiograms and all came back normal. I get plenty of sleep. I've eliminated stress as much as I could, but it doesn't seem to be a contributing factor.

I've seen multiple doctors and specialists. Most of them blamed the palpitations on my thyroid and sent me to see and endocrinologist (because I have Hashimoto's). Every single endocrinologist I've seen said the palpitations have nothing to do with my thyroid.

I've tried anything there is to try, but nothing seems to help. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??? PLEASE HELP. I'n desperate. I'll do ANYTHING to get rid of these annoying palpitations.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Cancel
25 Answers
25 Answers
Page 1 of 1
Avatar universal
I'm sorry.
That is awful.

Sounds like me, and I don't mean to trivialize.
PVCs/PACs are frightening, even if they are benign. Has a specialist told you that they are benign?
It's important that you confirm that they are benign.

If they are benign, we are just going to have to learn to live with them, crazy as it might sound.

Can you exercise? It's what helps me keep my sanity
In my case, not just any exercise. Swimming made them worse. (The waves hitting my neck felt like PVCs!#@) - Walking wasn't good to kill the adrenalin, running hurt my knees.
In the end cycling helped me out. Ride 40 -70 miles a week, and haven't keeled over yet :-)

It took me about 7 years to acknowledge that they aren't going to kill me. Consider a behavioral therapist? They have coping mechanisms. I am skeptical, but these guys work with soldiers who have PTSD, so there must be something to it.

Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Re-read your post..
Did the Echo/EKG show any PVCs or PACs?
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
12492606 tn?1459877633
Hi Jenn,  I suggest seeing an experienced Electrophysiologist to see if you have AF or some other condition.  
Comment
Cancel
12492606 tn?1459877633
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my post.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Thank you for the info and suggestions. I have been told that they are benign (but that was before they got worse again). My echos and EKGs did not show any PVCs or PACs, but the loop monitor did. It actually showed PVCs, PACs and a few PVC and PAC runs. The PVCs and the runs felt really horrible. The single PACs weren't nearly as bad, but they were still annoying.

I can exercise. I get 4-7 hours of vigorous exercise per week and I also walk a lot.

I absolutely can't accept these horrible PVCs and the annoying symptoms that they cause. No one likes feeling like they're chocking and getting punched in the neck or chest on a regular basis. Also, no one in my family had heart problems before they hit their 60's or 70's (I'm in my 20's!), so I feel like this issue is probably caused by some other problem, because it doesn't seem to be genetic.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
12492606 tn?1459877633
Hi Jenn,  Given your young age, active life style and no structural heart issues, have you considered the ablation route?  Not many centers have the skills and experience to offer the ablation route.  You have to look for EPs that specialize in left sided VT ablation, probably the most complex cases at high volume ablation centers.  Where are you located if you don't mind disclosing.  I say above assuming that you already have had your blood checked for issues that may cause arryhthmia.  
Comment
Cancel
12492606 tn?1459877633
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
12492606 tn?1459877633
Hi Jenn,  Given your young age, active life style and no structural heart issues, have you considered the ablation route?  Not many centers have the skills and experience to offer the ablation route.  You have to look for EPs that specialize in left sided VT ablation, probably the most complex cases at high volume ablation centers.  Where are you located if you don't mind disclosing.  I say above assuming that you already have had your blood checked for issues that may cause arryhthmia.  

http://circep.ahajournals.org/content/5/1/229/F3.expansion.html
Comment
Cancel
12492606 tn?1459877633
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
12492606 tn?1459877633
complete paper-

http://circep.ahajournals.org/content/5/1/229.full
Comment
Cancel
12492606 tn?1459877633
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
"My echos and EKGs did not show any PVCs or PACs, but the loop monitor did. It actually showed PVCs, PACs and a few PVC and PAC runs."

How many ectopics of each type per day did the monitor show?
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
My doctors and cardiologists advice on dealing with PVCs and PACs?
- Magnesium supplements (chelated, slow release)
- Fish oil
- Exercise
- Not reading about all the possible bad outcomes on random sites on the internet :-). More focussed sites like this one help me but we are all different.

Talk to a loved one as well. That can only help.
Finally, it took me 8 years to accept my PVCs/PAcs and not worry about them. That doesn't mean it has to take you that long, but we are all different.

If none of this helps, consider a device like  AliveCor.  That might show if you have Afib. I have lone Afib that i detected solely because of that device and my iPhone. Best 70 bucks i ever spent.

Talked to an electrophysiologist, who assured me I'm not gonna drop dead.
Told me that Afib, like PVCs and PACs drives people insane and that's normal. Have been better since that conversation.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
One other thing:

Do you sleep well? Has anyone told you that you snore? There is a very strong correlation between lack of sleep and A-Fib (again, according to my cardiac electrophysiologist)
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
11730233 tn?1423602550
That is good advice. Also, I find that stress provokes mine, which is unfortunate, as it becomes a vicious circle between pvc's and stress. And true acceptance of them means being ok weather you have them or not. Not thinking "if I just accept them, then they will go away". I currently have between 5 and 20 thousand a day, and feel each one. Not surprisingly, I don't notice them when i'm active and distracted.
Comment
Cancel
11730233 tn?1423602550
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Thank you all for your help.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
My cardiologist told me I could get an ablation if I wanted, but he didn't think it would be a good idea (at least in my case) because my palpitations are benign and relatively infrequent. He also said the procedure could potentially cause more harm than benefit, which is kind of scary. Also, ablations work when the palpitations always originate from the same place right? I don't think mine do, because each one feels slightly different than another and it doesn't feel like they originate from the same spot.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
I don't remember the exact number, but my monitor didn't show that many of them. Some days I had 0, some days I had 1 and some days I had multiple palpitations and/or one or more 2-4 beat runs. The thing is that each and every one of them feels horrible.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
My Holter monitors have recorded 4000 a day, give or take a few hundred.  Mine are unifocal, benign, and since I work out at the gym and am healthy, and since 4K is well below the 10K threshold considered significant, my doctors have advised me to enjoy my life.

I feel mine, and I really don't love them, so It has taken considerable work with my shrink to find a way to minimize my awareness of them.  Interestingly, though, doing that has reduced their frequency amazingly--probably due to the fact that fear icauses more of them.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
I take chelated magnesium citrate (300mg) every night. I get plenty of exercise. I understand that my PVCs are benign and I know they're not going to kill me. I used to take fish oil, but then I stopped because I heard that it's actually a proarrhythmic (even though it's also good for the heart), but I don't know if this is actually true.

I tried talking to my family about it, but they just don't seem to get how horrible these arrhythmias actually feel. Usually they just say "but you've been told they're benign right? Just ignore them". My friends seem to be more understanding, especially when I describe my symptoms.

I'll definitely consider getting an AliveCor, seems like a good idea. Do you know if it can continuously record the heart rhythm for several hours? Is there some way to attach it to my body and walk around with it (like a loop monitor)? Because I usually don't know exactly when I'm going to get palpitations. Also, can it detect PVCs and PACs or runs that are not A-fib?

I don't sleep well. I don't have sleep apnea and I don't snore, but I suffer from interstitial cystitis and it often makes it very difficult to sleep. But I wasn't much of a sleeper even before the palpitations and IC started. I used to get 3-7 hours of sleep and I never had any palpitations.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Stress doesn't seem to cause my palpitations. I can be really stressed or anxious and get 0 palpitations and I can be very calm and get runs. They usually come when I'm not actively thinking about them. I actually seem to get less of them when I'm constantly thinking about them, because it makes me stay away from triggers (I think).
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Once you get these things, there is a tendency to have them to some extent for the rest of your life.  Really.  

Yeah, people say, "avoid these foods, take these supplements, do this exercise but don't do those," and so on, but there is no known cure (maybe apart from ablation for those deemed medically eligible for that) .  Chances are that if even they quiet down at some point, they will return.

If the ectopics are not dangerous, the question becomes how to deal with them.

At pain clinics that treat intractable but incurable pain, patients are taught to deal with pain that is for sure real, but they are offered the decision to decide whether or not the pain is relevant.  IOW, if it hurts but does not actually, physically impair you, how much attention should you give it?  Does it deserve to be the center of your life?

We humans can learn to live and function well with daily pain of many kinds.

Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
I don't think AliveCor can record heartbeats for an extended period, it's usually for about 5-30 seconds. But they might have more info on their site.
I suggested it mainly to make sure that any PVCs/PACs you have are benign. Which seems to be your case.

You don't want to be buying it and then constantly checking it. That's how anxiety works. You don't want that. Have you seen a GP about your anxiety?

One other thing my cardio suggested (and my GP has suggested this for 10 years) - see a behavioral psychologist. I'm an engineer, so i need numbers and facts:-) so I havent - but my cardio suggested i try the following:

Next time you have PVCs/PACs or (in my case AFib as well) - talk to your iphone. Record what/how you are feeling. Then at a calm time, listen to your recording at least 7-10 times. (the number of times you listen to it is important) apparently that has a therapeutic (desensitizing? :-) effect)

Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Oh, And when you get PVCs , have you tried any Valsalva manouvers?
In my case they stop PVCs (but not PACs or Afib).

Definitely worth a try. Also works for anxiety in general.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Thank you for your suggestions. I just don't think I am ever going to be able to deal with these annoying ectopics. When I get a palpitation or a run, I often feel like it's taking forever before I can breathe again and I don't know how much longer it's going to last. The bad ones (usually PVCs) take my breath away and punch me (hard) in the chest. I don't think any type of psychological treatment can make me accept these annoying ectopics (especially the bad ones).

If you knew you were going to get punched in the chest and feel like you were choking on a daily basis, would it not bug you? I'm pretty sure it would bug most people.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response. Obviously, I wouldn't be constantly using and/or checking the AliveCor device. It has very little to do with anxiety. I'm probably going to use it during times when I feel like my palpitations are getting worse. Last night I had what felt like a 6-7 beat run of PACs when I was lying in bed and trying to sleep. It was awful! It made it hard to breathe for a few seconds and I felt like it was taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to stop. It would have been nice to know what that thing was. Also, the AliveCor device could potentially help me find and eliminate triggers, so I can get rid of these annoying palpitations.

My PCP seems more concerned than I am. She actually suggested that I make an appointment with my cardiologist and get another loop monitor (mainly because my palpitations have been getting worse and nothing seems to help).

I've never tried any Valsalva maneuvers, but I'll definitely give them a try.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Avatar universal
"I don't think any type of psychological treatment can make me accept these annoying ectopics (especially the bad ones)"

The only way to be certain of that is to give it a try.
Comment
Cancel
Avatar universal
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
12492606 tn?1459877633
Hi Jenn,  Sorry I missed your reply until just now.  The way you describe your PVC episodes and your cardiologist saying they are "benign" is typical.  It is like describing "pain" to a doctor that hasn't experienced pain.  But I definitely agree with him that PVC ablations can be dangerous if the EP doesn't have the skills and experience to tackle them.  They mostly limit ablations to the sickest patients that have heart failure and CRT/D implants where PVC's can trigger unwanted shocks.  Also, not many centers are equipped with proper equipment to map PVC because excess pressure from the catheter tips by itself can trigger PVC at the contact point.  As a result, the stats for success has been mediocre and complications are very high compare to SVT and AF ablations.  So, do your research and be very selective in finding an EP that is capable of handling this.  Look at the top centers only.
Comment
Cancel
12492606 tn?1459877633
Comment
Comment
Submit Comment
Your Answer
Avatar universal
Answer
Know how to answer? Tap here to leave your answer...
Answer
Submit Answer
A
A
Top Arrhythmias Answerers
1807132 tn?1318747197
Blank
MichelleP_3811
Chicago, IL
612551 tn?1450025775
Blank
Jerry_NJ
NJ
1423357 tn?1414258965
Blank
tom_h
Central, MA
995271 tn?1408549100
Blank
itdood
PA
11548417 tn?1440481484
Blank
Ger57
Netherlands
144586 tn?1284669764
Blank
caregiver222
Recent Activity
1415174 tn?1453246703
Blank
mkh9 commented on Londres70's status
8 hrs ago
Avatar universal
Blank
DottiB63 Single Comment
Apr 28
17568 tn?1424977159
Blank
Cindy Is DISAPPOINTED!! Where a... Comment
Apr 28
Heart Rhythm Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
233488 tn?1310696703
Blank
Marathon Running Done Over Many Yea...
May 21 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
233488 tn?1310696703
Blank
New Article on Multifocal IOL vs &q...
May 21 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
748543 tn?1443740527
Blank
TMJ/TMJ The Connection Between Teet...
01/15 by Hamidreza Nassery , DMD, FICOI, FAGD, FICCMOBlank
Top Arrhythmias Answerers
1807132 tn?1318747197
Blank
MichelleP_3811
Chicago, IL
612551 tn?1450025775
Blank
Jerry_NJ
NJ
1423357 tn?1414258965
Blank
tom_h
Central, MA
995271 tn?1408549100
Blank
itdood
PA
11548417 tn?1440481484
Blank
Ger57
Netherlands
144586 tn?1284669764
Blank
caregiver222