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Re: pvcs and stroke?

Posted By Denise O. on January 03, 1999 at 21:22:12:

In Reply to: pvcs and stroke? posted by Lisa on January 03, 1999 at 19:23:00:

I just read in my new issue of American Health for Women that people with irregular heartbeats are at greater risk for strokes.  I am 31 and have pvc's and this new information cited by SUNY Buffalo Medical School frightens me.  Do they mean pvc's when they refer to irregular hearbeats?  Am I at risk even though I have no heart disease?
Hi Lisa,
I've had PVCs for over 12 years without any problems.  Here is what Dr. CRC (great source of info.) from the CCF attaches about PVCs.  I think in the article, they are probably referring more to arrhythmias (i.e. A-Fib) or something on that order because during A-Fib the heart beats irregularly and blood clots can form and go to the brain resulting in a stroke.  I've seen this with a couple of people while I was in the E.R. for PSVT a couples times last year.  I wouldn't worry about the article as far as being PVC related.  This is just my opinion of course and the doctor will give you a correct answer.  I just wanted to share the stuff Dr. CRC attaches and let you know I've had no problems with PVCs in 12 years.
Denise O.
Here is Dr. CRC's attachment:
Below is a brief summary of what a PVC is, what causes them and the treatment (if any) for PVC's. You can find
additional information in an article in New England Journal of Medicine, May 7, 1998, Vol. 338, pages 1369-1374.
Your local medical library will have a copy of this. Hope this helps.
PVC's (premature ventricular contractions) are "extra" heartbeats occurring out of sync with the normal regular rhythm
of the heart. PVC's may cause no symptoms at all or may be felt as a "irregular" heartbeat or as the sensation of a "hard
heartbeat". PVC's are common findings in persons with otherwise normal hearts, in which case the prognosis is
excellent and there is no decrease at all in life expectancy. On the other hand, they may indicate that there is an
underlying abnormality of the heart muscle (from any number of reasons). If there is an abnormality, then the
prognosis and treatment depends upon the specific problem of the heart. The usual evaluation of PVC's is a history,
physical examination, and electrocardiogram (ECG). Also your doctor may wish to check an ultrasound of the heart. If
all those tests are normal, then you would fall into the category of people who have PVC's but otherwise no underlying
heart problem. In that case, treatment depends on how much the PVC's bother you. If they are essentially
asymptomatic, then no treatment is required. If they bother you, then a medication called a "beta-blocker" may reduce
the frequency of the PVC's. PVC's can't be "cured", but the medication can decrease their frequency. The potential
side effects of beta-blockers are tiredness, impotence in men and breathing difficulties in individuals with underlying
lung disease. Be sure to discuss these issues with your doctor and under no circumstance should you take medications
for the heart without the supervision of a doctor.
Below are some web sites with additional information about PVCs.

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