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What exactly do your irregular heartbeats feel like?
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by gothic_beauty, Oct 09, 2011
I experience quite a variety of irregularities in my heartbeat; sometimes I will feel a single extra beat, as if my heart got excited and didn't want to wait enough time between beats, while on other instances I have the impression that my heart stops for a moment before grudgingly deciding to resume its function. Other times (and these are the occasions that really make me scared) I will feel a sort of extended skipped beat. Today it was as if my heart seized up, rose into my throat, gave a few hard fast thumps, and then, just when I was certain it was going to stop for good, sank gracefully back down into its natural position and started back in on its usual rhythm as if it hadn't just misbehaved so inconsiderately! I have heard so many times that skipped beats are not dangerous, and I believe it, but I think am never certain if my type of irregularities are the same as other people's. I bet you all have heard such statements uttered before too; I think a lot of people on here are convinced that they are the exception to the rule. It just seems like my heart irregularities, while perhaps not always as frequent, are much more pronounced than those of other people, and thus much more life-threatening. Am I right?
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Member Comments (17)
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by is_something_wrongBlank, Oct 10, 2011
What you describe is classical for PACs.

While PVCs usually just feels like a completely skipped beat and a hard beat, PACs are more likely to present in various ways, with two rapid beats, pause and hard beat, three beats in a row with no pause after, the "flip-flop" sensation; one beat in the throat and one in the chest, skipped beat (just like a PVC) and finally, PACs can occur in brief runs.

If you are really bothered by this (which it seems like you are) it can be a good idea to get your premature beats monitored (if you haven't already, I don't remember). A holter monitoring, a stress test and an echo should be enough to rule out any scary condition :)
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by Mom2four85, Oct 10, 2011
what mine feel like is a difficult question for me because I have so much going on inside sometimes it's hard for me to know what is going on when

pac's & psvt/svt I feel more in my throat area; like a fish flip flopping around inside and like I'm trying to breathe through a small straw while my heart thumps wildly and the blood is pumped up through the straw

pvc's & vt I feel more on the bottom part of my heart underside and behind my chest if that makes sense...sometimes when my HR is really high and I can feel my heart hitting something if it's a really bad episode; maybe from being enlarged or pounding so hard? still not sure

sometimes the episodes leave me dizzy, nauseous, I get cold/hot at the same time, shaky and sweat then I feel faint which may last for 3-5 days non stop and then vertigo sets in on top of it...my HR is like a roller coaster and I can tell it's pvc's/vt runs...

other times there's no warning and my heart goes wild; feels like it's stopping but not like pvc's and I faint - I can't really explain those episodes because it's really weird when it does it.

I wish I knew if the more pronounced ones meant life threatening because then I may have an answer for me also; not all my symptoms are pronounced or prolonged.  I just wish I didn't have the problems I do; my life would be alot less complicated.

that's the million dollar question - what makes arrhythmia's life threatening...I'm still searching for the answer
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by is_something_wrongBlank, Oct 10, 2011
Two words: Coupling interval.

The earlier the PVC (or PAC regarding atrial tachyarrhythmias) fires, the more risk connected to it. But the problem is, we are all different regarding how good we are able to handle early beats. A healthy heart with homogenous de/repolarization can handle early beats. A non-healthy heart where some parts depolarize (can be seen on SAEKG) or repolarize (long QT dispersion) much later than others, can't handle this very well.

In an EP study they provoke arrhythmias by pacing say 10 beats at 600 msec interval (heart rate 100) and one beat with interval 400 msec, next test 300 msec, etc.. until they close in on the previous T wave. If they trigger arrhythmias, the test is positive.

Now, if you would be so kind and transfer the 1 million dollars, I'd be happy :)

Just kidding. Your question was a bit wrong formulated, so I had to have a little fun with it. The real pickle is to know what's causing the heterogenicity in de/repolarization.
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by Mom2four85, Oct 10, 2011
can you xplain that to us simple minded folks like me who have no clue what you just said?  =)
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by gothic_beauty, Oct 10, 2011
Wow, I didn't know there was such a difference between PACs and PVCs! Obviously, I knew that they originate in different parts of the heart, but I didn't know that they cause such different sensations. Thank you for explaining, is_something_wrong ... what I experience definitely sounds like PACs. When I had my last holter monitor, it recorded my irregular beats as PACs, so it makes sense that this is the type of irregularity most common in my heart. Unfortunately, my holter monitor never caught any of the extended skipped beats that I described above, where my heart feels like it pauses, slips up in my throat, then does two or three rapid beats before going back to normal, or similar. It only recorded what felt like a single extra beat at a couple of instances. That's why I thought this longer, more intense instances of arrhythmia could be different, but maybe not, after all.  I may mention it to my doctor when I go next week and see what he says.

Mom2Four, I am sorry about your symptoms ... they sound quite unpredictable and scary. I'll bet they are not as dangerous as you think, though, and I sincerely hope that you are able to keep them under control and prevent them from taking over your life. It is so difficult not to let these problems monopolise our minds, but it is possible, as I am learning. Take care: I'll be thinking of you!

And I too would appreciate a translation of your last comment, is_something_wrong!
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by Mom2four85, Oct 10, 2011
I wish mine weren't dangerous - I just happen to be one of the ones who really didn't believe I could ever have anything wrong because I didn't feel bad even when I fainted, had 50,000+ pvc's or felt my heart stopping.

I have a malignant form of PVC's they found during my ablation called Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia found in 3 separate places in my heart which causes VTach episodes and makes my heart stop.  

I had to have an ICD implanted and been shocked many times as recently as June 2011 my heart went whacko and stopped 3 different times.

They think this is due to a genetic condition and at first thought it was ARVD but then diagnosed me with HOCM (Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy) it's a toss up what's really wrong - dr's disagree with each other which is the correct dx.

I don't know all the answers for me because I seem to be a medical mystery to dr's - even ones who teach other world class EP's at the largest university here....he threw his hands up and said what else do you want me to do for you? nothing else can be done medically and told me to go back to my original EP because my case was too complex for him :(
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by gothic_beauty, Oct 10, 2011
Wow. I'm sorry. Your condition sounds extremely scary. I guess that modern medicine can help with a lot of problems, but not always as much as we would like. I am just glad that you have received some help, and as I say, I will be thinking of you. Take care :)
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by Mom2four85, Oct 10, 2011
thank you =)  I was like everyone else before; had palpitations and thumps and pains and really nothing wrong (or so I thought) my ekg and even an echo came out "normal"

then I had a holter monitor and stress test done where they found some inconsistencies and problems...I still have a ton of questions because pvc's/pac;s just don't morph into something dangerous....not that I have found so far.
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by CMoore416, Oct 10, 2011
What inconsistencies did they find?