It's partly a matter of syntax... But basically, PVCs (or premature ventricular contractions) are "beats" in which the ventricles (bottom chambers of the heart) beat "early" (and often feel "hard" or "jumpy" or "strange" to the patient) due to electrical signals in the heart being a bit out of whack for various reasons. They are VERY common and most people have some PVCs in their life time.
PVCs usually occur in between normal sinus rhythm beats, so that they can be particularly noticeable from the usual NSR. Often patients and doctors call these "palpitations". You can have just one isolated PVC in a day, or you can have several in a day or some people have 1000's or more in a day. When the PVCs happen many times right after one another without a normal beat in between (one right after another strung together) they are usually then said to be a run of ventricular "tachycardia" and/or "arrhythmia" -- although there are things like "couplets, triplets and bigeminy" where there are a couple or several PVCs in a row in between NSR.
BTW, you can also have something similar happen in the top chambers of the heart (the atria) and these are known as PACs. While they look different on an EKG, they can sometimes feel the same as, or similar to, a PVC to the patient. When these run together without NSR in between they are generally referred to as "supraventricular (above the ventricles) tachycardia".
Arrhythmia is a broad term generally referring to any irregularity of the heart beat. While some people interpret this to mean any beats not of NSR origin, "Arrhythmia" can also refer to specifically recognized conditions that some people have such as A-Fib, WPW or LGL syndromes, in which the person is said to have "arrhythmia" -- in that they have a condition which can cause arrhythmia of some variation. You can also have slow beats (bradycardia), or fast beats (tachycardia), in which your heart is said to be in normal sinus rhythm (beating the way it is supposed to as far as electrical signals), but just going faster or slower than might be ideal and these types of beats are sometimes also referred to as "arrhythmia".
Thank you for this information. Very helpful. I have been given a high blood pressure medication to replace the Metropolol I have been taking and hopefully along with mineral supplementation i.e. potassium/Magensium these PVC's might go away.
Thank you for this helpful info. I will be seeking a second opionion about the PVC's I am experiencing to get to the root of the problem. There has to be some other explanation other than "an aging heart". I am hoping a cardiologist can help.
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