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Avatar universal

PVCs they are destroying my life

I have had PVCs for about 5 years now on and off somedays there are none and some days I think I will expire because of them I take toporol xl 50mg I have taken as much as 200 it does nothing to them I might as well be eating life savers.  I just lost my Job a couple of weeks ago because of them you see the only way to get them to stop is to lie down and my boss did not like that idea I could not help it thats what makes them slowly go away after about 45 min to 1 hr.  So now they have gotten to the point that I cant even take care of my family and I dont know what to do.  should I change meds? I have no idea.  I know things cant go on like this anymore.  I have been thinking about maybe trying to get disability for them but I dont know if you can  I am just at a loss. thank you so much for your time and god bless you all.    John
24 Responses
74076 tn?1189759432
Hi John,

You will probably see overwhelming support from the forum on this.  People will agree that PVCs can control your life at times and I am sorry they are affecting you this way.

You have a few choices if beta blockers don't work:
1. you can try a calcium channel blocker.  Again this is unlikely to suppress them, more likely to decrease their intensity.
2. If you are young, you may be a candidate for an antiarrhythmic medication like flecainide or propafenone.  These medications can sometimes suppress PVCs.
3. If these don't work and they are truly debilitating, some electrophysiologist are willing to try PVC ablations.  This is a tricky procedure because we have to be able to see the PVCs in order to map them.  You may show up the day of the procedure and not have any -- then they are difficult to localize.

These are the best options I see for now.  I hope you find relief soon.
Avatar universal
hi jon, ive just posted a question that i think is possibly similar (twitch25) im not sure what PVCs are? is it like a fast heart beat because if so then i totally understand. In England you can go on the sick for these type of problems but to be honest i wouldnt because i left univercity to "get better" but simply got worse, as you can see from me searching the internet for other sufferers its easy to become fixated with it and soon you focus more on your heart than anything else. i think if the doctor has told you that you wont die from it then you should try to drown out the feeling and sound in your head because the lieing down doesnt really make it go away, you just think it does. i totally understand mate, it sucks but we cant keep allowing these things to distroy our life. do you take any medication? i used to but found it caused other problems like a constant feeling of impending doom! great. At least you dont have the hidiously perpetual crappy English weather! hope you feel better soon x
84483 tn?1289941537

John are they really that incapacitating to you. I have had them last as long 5-6 months at a times in the 1000s daily, usually when they first start I'll get a incapacitated by them but then I try and function with them(admittedly thats hard to do) even though sometimes when i got them real frequent a rest would help relieve them also, its funny that the beta blocker doesn't help if they are relieved by rest, has your doctor thought about trying a different beta blocker or maybe even a calcium channel blocker, I understand some pvcs respond well to calcium channel blockers like verapamil or even cardizem but it apparently depends on where the pvcs arise within the heart.

It is my understanding that most EPs try to avoid all powerful antiarrhythmics now ie. flecainide(not to single that particular drug) just an example for benign PVCs.

  Maybe if you're that incapacitated by them , an ablation might be worth looking into, I am not a doctor just a fellow off and on again sufferer myself thank goodness mostly off, hoping you get some relief soon. Good luck.
21064 tn?1309312333
Hi John,

There are many of us here who understand your frustration.  I had significant pvcs for many years.  Today, I have occasional episodes, but totally manageable with rest, hydration and an occasional dose of Inderal (propanolol).  When my pvcs were at the worst (22,000/day) they were absolutely incessant. Honestly, I cannot recall a single day in years when I didn't have them. They drove me a little crazy, but never ruled my entire life (thank God).  Have you tried other beta blockers?  I was on a number of different beta blockers, but Inderal worked best for me.  I can still take it "as needed" and it works within 20 minutes.  

Have you had a holter monitor to determine the frequency, origin and significance of your pvcs?  

I agree with others who have said to avoid antiarrythmic meds unless they became essential to your health.  When my pvcs became medically significant, I ended up taking flecaide, but not until they were very unmanageable and causing other medical problems.  

If you have not asked your doctor about other beta blockers, that might be a good start.  Also, I'm all for the holter monitor to try and definitevly diagnose what's going on.  Please don't let the pvcs rule your life....Once your doctor confirms they are benign, try and move forward and manage the symptoms.

Good luck John.
Avatar universal
I also was having debilitating PVC's and PAC's. I was having trouble learning to cope with them until I read through archvies and found a article by mikeb. He controled his PVC's with antacids. It seems that some peoples PVC's are caused by esophageal irritation. I tried a regimine of Prilosec OTC 1 daily and a swig of Gaviscon after every meal and before going to bed at night. After 1 month my PVC's were almost completely under control. I now no longer take the gavison but chew gum after meals. Here is a link to the thread with his article.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.
Avatar universal

I have PVC's in the range of 5000/day.  So far I am taking nothing for them.  They do tend to get on your nerves though.  I am wondering if your light-headedness was from panic though.  For people who are not used to these conditions that can be the case.

A week ago I called the paramedics because I felt like I was going to pass out from PVC's.  At the time I was wearing a holter monitor and later upon examination, the doctor said I showed nothing other than my standard pvc's I have had for years.  I just panicked this time.  Hopefully you will find something that will work for you whether it be BB's or ablation.

Have courage and good luck to you.

Avatar universal
I had this problem in 1999 and 2000.  Had an event monitor installed over a 30 day period.  During one night I had some 5,000 PVCs that I didn't even know I had.  Eventually my cardiologist prescribed sotolol and this essentially corrected the problem in addition to occasional bouts of afib.  I occasionally have my heart do a "tap dance" but it clears up and then beats as regularly as one could possibly want.

What I would want to do is to find out exactly what the condition of your heart is; such as the ejection fraction, etc.  I would want to know what your physical conditioning is and your blood work-up says.  Perhaps your potassium or some other blood chemical is a little low.  You need to know that.  And I would find myself a competent cardiologist who will get to the bottom of this and don't rest until you do. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to "get used to it."  That's nonsense.  Otherwise you will be indeed miserable with this occurring all the time.  I've been there; done that.  Now I have an essentially normal life at age 62.
Avatar universal
Very sorry to hear about your ordeal with them- i know how you feel because I too have them although not in the thousands enough to make you crazy and very vulnerable to life.  What can I say but you must find a way to live with them- cope better, accept not necessarily ignore but accept them- there is a difference. At some point you must accept them.

Take care and start with some counselling it helped me alot and stick to it you will gain enough strength that you will start to feel better and less bothersome. I dont know how many you are getting per day. I would try another BB before I would try anti-arrythmics for sure.

stay well god bless and keep your chin up. Life is worth living even with these PVC's at their worst.

Avatar universal
Would just like to say a general thank you to the docs and hospital for hosting this site and to the posters...I'm a PVC person and have been having a difficult time adjusting psychologically.

My awareness of my PVCs is recent.  In August, I noticed frequent skips while driving (I thought my heart was STOPPING and then RESTARTING) so I motored on over to the ER.  I had no pain, no dizziness, however.  My resting heart rate was 110 or so (though I think now this was due to the PANIC brought on by the PVC episode, as I don't normally have a rapid heartbeat normally and haven't since).

EKG was "abnormal."  Due to this (though I never received an explanation of what "abnormal" entailed), I was admitted overnight.  The cardiologist looked at the EKG the next morning and described it as "angry."  Due to some family history (paternal grandfather had heart disease) he recommended a heart catheterization to be sure (they debated about whether to just do a stress test, but recommended catheterization for certainty.)

The catheterization was completely negative; my heart is, by all appearances, in excellent condition.  I was instructed not to concern myself with the PVCs. My BP was a little high, so I've been on 50 mg of Atenolol, since; this is also supposed to help with the PVCs, according to my understanding (although it does not.)  

Since August, I've had approx., on average, 2 PVC episodes per week.  Onset is during the morning or early afternoon; the PVC episodes subside in late evening or at bedtime.  GENERALLY, I observe about 2-3 PVCs per minute during these episodes--sometimes it's worse, sometimes better.

I exercised regularly before this, even more regularly now.

I'd just like to say that I appreciate this site and the comments.  This August event took place in such a "whirlwind" fashion for me--the onset of the incident and the fear, the decision to do the catheterization the next morning, then the relief over the results--that I failed to gather many details after the catheterization.  I thought at the time it was probably a "one-off" event and with the medication, that I would no longer experience issues.

These things can be scary, and I'm grateful for the reassuring resource....  Thanks, all.
Avatar universal
Thank you to all for the support,  I have had all the tests for my heart and blood tests they are all normal.  I dont drink, I dont use Caffine,  I dont smoke.  When they start it is a gradual increase the get to the point that I cant stand up.  The make me so dizzy and light headed that I feel like I am going to pass out laying down does make them go away I monitor my heart rate when I lye down and they do go away.  I was at work several months ago and i had to have one of my fellow employees call an ambulance for me I thought it was it.  They put a monitor on me and confirmed that they get better and go away when I lay down and rest.  But my boss did not understand that tho I live in a right to work state ya it sucks.  I have not tried any other BBs tho maybe I will do that.  But to me this is not living not being able to takecare of my family!  That means the world to me Thanks again for the support John
Avatar universal
Hello.  I found this when I was looking for any information about irregular heartbeats and I am so grateful to all those who have posted here.  I started having PVCs the last couple of days  -  or have had them all my life off and on but only now and then  -  you know, like once in a blue moon.  Well, they started steady seems like yesterday and scared the heck out of me.   ( that didn't help . . . )  So I made an appt. with a cardiologist, notified my co-workers that I'm having odd heartbeats, looked up the closest minor medical facility  -  you know the drill.   Then I found y'all and that helps a lot.  My symptoms matched what I've read here  -  a couple of regular heart beats, then a pause, then a few regular and then a pause, etc.   I have been working a lot - from home where work can start at dawn and go into the evening simply because it's 'easy' to log on to work and just keep working.   So I am stressed.   Go figure.   I don't like the PVCs - I do get a bit lightheaded and I find the PVCs distracting - I'm so busy trying to a.) figure out what it is  and b.) counting the "skipped beats"  and c.) thinking of ways to make them stop!  I want to thank you all for taking the time to post here.  You will never know what it has done to help ease my mind - and even cheer me up !   Bless you all.    -  jasmemphis
Avatar universal
I began getting pvc/palpatations 2 months ago, had labs drawn and stress test, and was told to ignore them.  I went through the archives on this site and read all the entries related to this and found a lot of good info.  I noticed that my doc did not check my magnesium level, only the potassium.  One entry in the archives reccomended magnesium suppliments for pvc's so i bought some at cvs last week.  I dont know if it was coincidence, or the "power of suggestion", but the past 6 days have been wonderfull.  I have jogged 3 times without feeling any "chest thumpers (pvc's)" (I usualy get them pretty bad during exercise) and I have only had one night where i felt them at rest (actualy while wieght lifting) and they only lasted about 1 hour.  I hope this lasts!!  I also stopped all caffine and alcohol which helped before but not during exercise.  I am going for an echo next month followed by cardiologist consult a week after.  Hopefully all will be well and i can start to accept these damn things as just an irritating part of my life.
When i think of all the horrible illnesses out there that affect others, its hard to feel too bad about myself. I try to keep reminding myself that people younger than me (31) have died from random and tragic causes and i should consider myself lucky to be here,  I'm sure there are cancer victoms that would trade places with a pvc sufferer any day of the week!  Anyway, getting longwinded here,  i hope to here from someone else who found some relief from magnesium tablets, or is it all in my head?
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