Hi there. I'm 19 years old and a full time college student. Since I can remember, around the age of 11 or 12 I have experienced skipped heartbeats. I had always noticed them coming in runs of 4-5 and happening every few minutes for a while . They would happen on and off for a few days and I would not notice them again for maybe a few weeks or months.
Recently, within the past month I have had single skipped beats throughout the day. Mostly they occur at nighttime whether I am lying down or just trying to relax. They do happen during the day as well when I am out doing other things, just not as often. I also tend to get them when laying on my left side.
I was also told that I have GERD due to some frequent chest pains and indigestion.
I saw a cardiologist recently, and wore a 48 hour holter monitor that came back with some PVCs and PACs. I did not hear anything from the doctor yet so I am assuming all looks somewhat normal.
My main concern is the fact that they are occurring more frequently. Does this mean something is worsening in my heart? Can these lead to other heart issues in the future? I'm really just confused as to what these are, and if they truly are something to be concerned about.
Ectopic beats are not considered dangerous until they reach somewhere around 20,000 a day or if you have pvcs they come in runs that sustain for longer than 30 seconds. If you are functioning normal, not passing out or having severe chest pain or shortness of breath and your heart is deemed structurally normal they are considered benign. Not so much to the patient but the medical community does not see them as a threat to your immediate or long term health. The things to work on to help lessen the amount you are having are stress and stomach issues. It sounds like you are having an increase in gerd and it could very well be causing the increase in your ectopic beats. I know when my stomach is acting up I will get more extra beats. Simply being hungry and my stomach grumbling for food can set off a few. So work on addressing your stomach issues avoid caffeine and sugary foods and see if that helps and most of all try to not stress about them as that will actually make them worse. If your symptoms get worse or you haven't had your heart evaluated then go and see a doctor but other than that just try to find and eliminate your triggers and they should settle down. Take care.
Thank you for your response :) I will be seeing my doctor in a couple weeks for a follow up appointment, and also having an echocardiogram done next Friday.
Does having extra or skipped beats one after another for about 15 seconds pose a bigger danger? Or are these also benign? I guess these just tend to worry me a little more considering they certainly don't feel normal.
Not from what I understand. If you are having bigeminy it isn't considered any more dangerous especially considering it doesn't last all that long but consult with the doctor to get his expert opinion. It is good to get the echo so you can rule out any structural issues. If that comes back fine then you likely don't have much to worry about unless your symptoms get extreme or you start to have troubling symptoms. But most of us are in the category of trying to simply find and eliminate our triggers and most of all learn to live with a jumpy heart. Best of luck with the doctor. Let us know how it goes.
I think that Michelle detailed a lot of what you needed to know. I will just add that I have had PACsfor over 40 years, starting as a teen. In my early 50's the PAC's begin to trigger episodes of atrial fibrillation. In my case I feel that the PAC's are caused by a highly active vagus nerve, which happens to run to both the stomach and the heart. It tells the heart to slow down. Laying on my left side can bring on PAC's- this is common among those who have this. You too may have a 'high vagal tone', as my doctor puts it. One characteristic of this is a low heart rate- mine can be as low as 50 bpm. However, I didn't really notice this until I was in my 50's. I wouldn't be overly concerned about PAC's as long as there isn't a heart structure reason for them.
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