Hello - I have been having PVCs for 12 years now, but today I experienced something new. It is probably just another PVC, but it was a different sensation than what I'm used to.
Here is what happened: I walked up and back down a flight of stairs and then sat at my desk and noticed I was having a lot of PVCs (typical), so I was feeling my pulse in my neck and felt almost a grinding sensation in my heart, then a pause in my pulse, and then back to normal rhythm. I don't usually notice pauses after PVCs although I've heard that is common.
Do you think this grinding sensation was just a different-feeling PVC or something more? At the end of last month I had a stress echo done and my heart is structurally normal, so is this even anything to worry about? Thanks!
The way PVCs feel depends on when they occur. Your heart runs through a very complex cycle for each and every beat. It starts off with the SA node firing, the atriums contracting, that electrical impulse hitting the AV node and traveling to both ventricles at the same time (hopefully), then the ventricles contracting. This whole process takes about 300 milliseconds if I recall correctly. A PVC can fire during any moment during that cycle. It can happen when certain valves are closed or open, when a lot of blood has filled the ventricles or when very little is there. The list of possibilities is very long.
Sometimes you get the "hydraulic hammer" effect if certain volumes of blood are just right and certain valves closed. This is because your heart tries to squeeze out a large volume of blood but the wrong valves shut, this will cause a slam-like feeling (hydraulic hammer) or a large thump that can even be painful sometimes. When this particular type happens to me it feels like someone has punched me in the chest. It's all a matter of chance.
PVCs also feel odd because the ventricles end up contracting at different times instead of at that same time.
There's some clinical significance to certain PVC timings but that's way out of the context of what we are talking about. Don't read anything into it.
Trying to say what something was based on feeling alone is tough. It could have been the timing, it could have been a couplet, a triplet, nsvt, AIVR, PACs, LBBB, RBBB, rentry, PJC, blah blah blah. No way to tell without catching on an EKG. Even if you caught what happened on a EKG do you know what you will be told? "It's benign in a structurally normal heart."
So I would keep an eye on it, if it gets worse call your doc and try to catch it on an EKG (holter), and above all relax.
Hi itdood - thanks so much for the information and advice to relax. I just found it unusual that my PVCs almost always feel identical every time I have them, and this was just a very strange sensation that I've never felt before. I didn't really think about all of the different places during the heartbeat that a PVC could occur.
Thanks again!!! I have read your posts before and they are always extremely informative and reassuring. I appreciate it! :)
99% of my PVCs feel the same way. I get these one-off events that feel different. One time, just out of luck, I had a one-off style of PVC caught on a holter event monitor. I was sure I knew what it was based on what it felt like. When I got the results back my guess was wayyyy off. That's why I tend to say it's tough to guess based on feelings. Thanks for the nice feedback :)
Wow, that's really interesting! That makes me feel better too about the "runs" I have and whether or not they're normal... maybe just one or two really strong PVCs rather than many. Thanks again for the help!!!
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