I had PVCs for about ten years before my mechanical aortic valve replacement in 1985 at 41 years of age. My cardiologist told me that the PVCs would probably get worse after surgery, because many times the insertion of a foreign object (i.e., my mechanical valve) fouls up the heart's electrical system even more. To the contrary, my PVCs completely went away after surgery!
In 2002, I moved to a new location, and my new cardiologist started me out with an ECG. He detected light, occasional PVCs, of which I could feel no effect. I moved again in 2011, and had a 24 hour Holter monitor done in April, 2012. All my cardiologist told me was that my PVC rate was 9.7% of total beats, but all asymptomatic, so not to worry. Again, I only occasionally noticed a PVC.
I went to my primary care physician for my regular four month checkup in mid-November 2015, and my pulse rate while sitting in a chair kept fluctuating between 35-40 (using the finger monitor for pulse and blood oxygenation). I made an appointment with my cardiologist for 10 days hence. The finger monitor again showed a pulse rate of 33-38 sitting (but 98% blood oxygenation), but when laying on the examining table with ECG leads strapped to me, my pulse read at 73. The ECG was abnormal, and I was ordered for another Holter monitor.
This one came back as abnormal with 19% multifocal PVCs, with episodes of ventricular couplets, ventricular bigeminy as well as ventricular trigeminy. Yet, the report stated that all episodes were asymptomatic (which I find hard to believe, since last August of 2015 my yearly echocardiogram indicated that my ejection fraction had decreased over the last few years from 62% to 45%).
At any rate, my cardiologist prescribed one daily Diltiazem CD 120mg Caps. What seems strange to me is that Diltiazem is for angina and high blood pressure, but is only an OFF LABEL use for arrhythmias. Hence, I have noticed no change in my PVCs (perhaps even a little worse for these first 25 days on Diltiazem, and especially heavy PVCs when I first try to go to sleep at night), nor has my blood pressure been lowered.
I am considering making an appointment with a different cardiologist to have him do a new ECG, go over my Holter monitor report, and consider a drug specifically for arrhythmias. Any other suggestions, or should a 72 year-old man like myself just let nature take it's course?
Thank you for any advice.