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PVC pain or angina or?

Posted by Kelleen K on April 20, 1999 at 16:16:46
Hello and thank you for this excellent forum. I am a 35 year old female diagnosed with pvcs couplets (from ER visit). Had normal blood tests and normal echocardiogram in ER. Symptoms subsided somewhat and I was not too worried. Started on some magnesium and other vitamins and that has worked well to control pvcs (maybe placebo effect?). I have now developed some strange, dull, achy, variable pain dirrectly over my heart and around it. Totally on the upper left side that comes and goes and unrelated to pvc action. It would not normally concern me, except for the presence of the pvcs. My question is, how do I distinguish cardiac pain from muscle pain? (I did recently have a bad cold with lingering cough). Is pain normal with pvc's for some people or should I be concerned that this is something more serious? I cannot get an appointment with my cardiologist until next week and all they say over the phone is "go to the ER if you think you are having a heart attack"   which I don't (no other severe symptoms). What questions should I be asking the cardiologist as to what this could be?
Thank you very much!

Posted by CCF CARDIO MD-APS on April 24, 1999 at 13:54:36
Dear Kelly,
Cardiac pain is variable depending on the specific cardiac cause AND even cardiac pain of the "heart attack" variety is variable from person to person, thus the best I can do is tell you that the pain associated with PVCs can be dull or sharp, is usually fleeting (not long lasting) and has minimal if any associated shortness of breath.  If you feel lightheaded, nauseated, are sweaty (diaphoretic), and or are short of breath, go to the ER because PVCs as said before have little if any associated symptoms and are benign (i.e.they can not and will not hurt you or threaten your life regardless of whether or not you experience pain with them.)
After the cardiologist does a complete history and physical ask him these questions and more:
1. What do you think is wrong with my heart if anything?
2. Is my cardiac exam normal, and do I have any murmurs?
3. What is my risk for coronary artery disease if any?
4. Are any further tests indicated, if so, why and what are you seeking to learn from them.
5. If I require therapy of any kind, what are the short and long term goals and what are the risks of this therapy and of not using the therapy.
6. If any drugs are prescribed ask what the potential side effects are - even with over the counter medications/herbal remedies you might be taking.
I hope this information is useful. Information provided in the heart forum is for
general purposes only.  Only your physician can provided specific diagnoses and therapies.
Feel free to write back with further questions. Good luck!
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please
call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at
www.ccf.org/heartcenter. The Heart Center website contains a directory of the
cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your
cardiac problem.

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