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PVC's/PAC's and exercise


I am a 26 year old female who has been experiencing PVC's and PAC's for about 6 months.  I first noticed them when I was working out one day...scared the **** out of me so I stopped.  Since then, I've noticed more and ended up getting a round of tests done (holter monitor, EKG, Echo, and stress test), all of which confirmed that these are PVC's and PAC's and 'benign.'.  Maybe you all can relate in wondering how something this scary is supposed to be 'normal' hahah, it's almost comical to me at times.

My question is if anyone else out there feels these more so during your workouts?  I have pretty much stopped working out all together b.c they are so scary and while my cardiologist says they are benign, I find it hard to work through these.  What are tips to help ease myself back into this or learn to become ok with these happening?  It's so scary and it's definitly changed me as a person . I love doing ANYTHING and find myself avoiding any sort of physical activity b/c I worry about these....

Help :(
23 Responses
503607 tn?1275671579
Just know your not alone, I have no advise for you because I avoid excercise out of fear of pushing my heart to hard.   I am sure there are many people here that might have some words of wisdom.
Avatar universal
I'm in the same boat as far as exercising and PAC's. Do your's happen during or after you exercise. Also, what do they feel like? I can feel mine in my throat almost like there is something stuck in there. I also can of course feel the skips when taking my pulse. Did your Dr say anything regarding exercise and skipped beats. I'd be interested in what they said. I know how you feel though. How can these skipped beats be normal and harmless in a healthy heart. I doesn't make much sense...
Avatar universal
Dito. i get them more in the recovery phase of exercise. Sometimes I feel my pulse while I jog and I feel skips (with my fingers but not in my chest). I don't worry about that too much but I'm spooked from the episodes I've had where my heart just totally gives out for a few seconds, rapid fires, stops again, rapid fires and then goes into 350bpm overdrive for 5 minutes.
Needless to say I'm scared shittless too. So I just play light tennis, light jog, or walk. I've learned that (so far at least), lifting things or walking up stairs brings my symptoms on so I try to keep my heart rate under 135 and don't lift heavy stuff.
wow, I can so relate.  Steps and lifting are so hard for me. I so wish I could exersize, but so afraid and it makes me feel bad.
wow, I can so relate.  Steps and lifting are so hard for me. I so wish I could exercise, but so afraid and it makes me feel bad.
Avatar universal
Yes - I've started to get them, and for some reason, I don't really notice them during the exercise (running to about 80% of peak HR), but they definitely appear post-exercise (usually several hours later).  Have thought it might be dehydration/electrolyte imbalance, or some sort of vitamin deficiency.  Have cut out alcohol (noticed it seemed to bring this about more consistently) and am trying multivitamin.
That said, is vigorous exercise still ok?
Avatar universal
yesterday was the 1st time i noticed a skipped beat- after running i took my pulse and noticed a lub dub, pause, lub dub - skiped a beat, i walked for a minute sat on the bench and same thing - would not have known at all unless i checked my radial pulse.  i went home ran my stairs 3 times and took my apical pulse with my stethocsope - same thing there was a skipped beat - noticed it twice - here however the skipped beats coincided with a strange feeling in what i thought was my esophagus - like a big air bubble going up the esophogus.  can anyone else relate to this feeling during a skipped beat?

went to cardiologist today- ekg and echo normal, stress test in 3 weeks - he thinks benign

hope it stops - i'm afraid to exercise as well
Avatar universal
Thank you all for your responses...I've been on vacation so I just got them all :)  As far as when I feel them regarding exercise, I always feel them about 5-10 minutes into my workout...These ones I feel at this time are not small ones either...these are the big ones that take your breath away...make me feel like coughing after.  I grab my chest and just kinda think 'holy shi* wtf!' lol people at the gym must look at me and think this chic is going to fall over dead or something.  

Stutterheart, like you said...its almost like my heart just stops and jets up again..but mine only happens once at a time..then maybe 5 min later, it will happen again. I usually get about 3-4 per workout when I get them...yet some days I get none.  I do get one or two RIGHT after my workout...but after about 10 min of cool down, they disappear.  

when I saw the cardiologist, I had a few EKG's, holter monitor, echo, and a treadmill stress test...and HURRAY!  the skipped beats happened during EKG and stress test which was great b.c they were able to confirm that is what it was.  all were PVC's or PACs yet they all felt a bit different.  As far as excercising they said its fine...b/c these are benign im supposed to 'go on my merry way' while exercising and just work past them.  If it bothers me just stop, but that its ok to continue.  I guess its just mental at this point..finding a way to tell myself im ok and to just ignore them, but with how intense these feel i just want to stop immediatly.  

I do get some after minor things like walking up stairs or carrying heavy things...its like 'really??' I'm not hardly exerting myself.  but I think its all about learning that this is now a part of me, and that this will evenutally be 'normal' heart activity for me.  

momoF3kids7:  all pvc's are different for me..I have something very similar to that..and yes it feels like its near my esophagus...its so strange to me b.c i have what feels like flutters...then there's thumps...then there's the big ones that feel like my heart stopped or going to explode with that one beat...its so crazy, and perhaps pvc's are a bit diff feeling than pac's which is why mine feel diff from day to day (ive been diagnosed with both).  Its hard b.c everyone describes them diff...what I do know is that we can all agree these things SUCK!  

Sometims I forget what life was like before these (just 7 mo ago!)...I feel like now all I do is worry and wonder if these will eventually kill me lol...even though they are 'benign." my cardiologist didn't know why all of a sudden I started feeling these...but I guess I'm just one of the many who do.  

Avatar universal
oh, and my pvc's and pac's happened during my holter monitor also...I wore it for 48 hours and had 126 PVCs and about 65 PACs in the 48 hours..the most happened from 8pm-1am which explains why when im trying to fall asleep i feel them here and there...but once my body relaxed after usually midnight they virtually disappeared.  but yeah, i was having around 25 an hour later at night!  crazy!
267401 tn?1251852496
Rookie.  ;)

In all seriousness, I know when PVCs first come upon you they can scare the life right out of you, make you avoid anything that might bump your heart rate a little, for fear you'd drop dead.  It did for me, for several years.

About a week ago I had roughly 15,000 PVCs in one day.  Crazy,huh?  I'm usually on the grumpy side when they're that bad (can you blame me?), but over the last ten years I've come to recognize them as a sign that I'm stressing about something and need to take a break.

As for exercise - it's always going to be better for you to exercise.  For me, one of the things that seemed to help was to have a very slow warm up and ramp up to full exertion, and a very elongated cool down, too.  For some reason, for me, when my HR is in the 110's, either on the way up or the way down, I'll get a few PVCs.  

Ultimately it comes down to trusting your docs and having the courage to take a leap of faith that you'll be able to exercise and not die on the spot.  It's hard the first time, but trust me, it gets easier.

I've had times when I was so frustrated with my heart and the thousands of PVCs I was having in a day and what it was doing to my life that I'd get on the treadmill almost with a death wish, daring my heart to degenerate into vtach or vfib.  And it never did.
Avatar universal
it absolutely ***** - it happened again today - first time 5 days ago after running, took 4 days off from running and ran 4 miles today and today's were worse - it's like lub dub, pause and coinciding with the pause is an airbubble feeling but today it was stronger like a bubble then a thump, then lubdub again - i was scared ----, and i'm a nurse.  i'll feel better once i do my stress test in 3 weeks

dr didn't do holter b/c he said it's a hit or miss but when i go for my stress test if none show up i'm going to ask for one

why out of nowhere - i'm 41 running for 23 years usually do 5 9 minute miles - my daughter gets them over 5000 in 24 hrs, benign, but she doesn't feel them -

can they go away?
267401 tn?1251852496
I think they tend to be something you're stuck with for the rest of your life, but make appearances kinda like Herpes (not that I would know!) - they'll disappear for months, then come back for a week or so, then disappear again, only to come back later.

Avatar universal
Wisconsin2007...you crack me up :) I am TOTALLY a rookie!!!  haha :)  I cannot believe you get that many!  poor thing!  Thank you so much for your advice...you have no idea how mych talking about this helps me :)  Its def. nerve-racking when these things start, and I think with time I will be able to accept them :)  Thank you for your advice on exercising!  I def. do NOT want to stop working out...I'm only 26 and 125lbs...worked out 4-5 days a week at the gym...60 min of cardio 4 days a week....so I was baffled when this came about!!! I was thinking to myself how the heck can I have heart problems. I think I am generally a very healthy individual and figured I had some random disease that was going to kill me.  now that I know what it is, its all about accepting it and dealing with it.  Thank you sooo much for your advice :) :)  I know at first this caused panic attacks for me...just crazy!  those are at least better now!


I would DEF suggest the holter if they do not happen during the stress test.  are your's induced by exercise only or do you get them at rest too?  see I get both, but the bad ones are more so during exercise.  its hard to not stress about what your feeling im sure when your not positive they are PVC's/PAC's.  I know it was so comforting that the stress test showed them happening and so did the holter..it allowed my mind to be at ease knowing what i was feeling were INDEED pvc's and pac's. but they def. sound JUST like a PVC so don't worry...your a nurse so im sure you know that as long as your heart is structurally sound, they are typically benign.  have you had an echo done?  if your stress and holter show them but dr's think benign, its a good idea in my mind to confirm that your hearts structure is not compromised (thru  echo) to then know that these are truly benign.  I sure envy your daughter NOT feeling them!

as far as why they just come about..WISH I KNEW!!  ugh heart rhythm issues run in the family for me and my cardiologist said that they can just pop up out of nowhere, but its usually stress induced.  mine seemed to come out of NOWHERE!  perhaps i always had them and just never felt them before...who knows....though my cardiologist said that as quickly as they can sometimes come about, they can go away too.   It sounds though from others that once you feel them, they usually are there to stay...just some days good, others bad.  You just learn to deal with them....I suggest getting a holter and echo just to be safe.  Im sure your just fine, but my motto was 'get all the tests to be sure...then learn to accept and deal.'.  If I didnt get all my tests, i would ALWAYS wonder if maybe it really were something else not caught....

BOO for PVC's/PAC's :)
Avatar universal
37 yr old female..I have been having these so called skips too.I have been told it is normal and it's an extra beat and not a skip.It is so scary. All I do all day is sit and listen for them.Sometimes I feel 3 extra in a row.I lose my breath and fell anxious.I have 4 kids and I can't even enjoy them.I am very anxious all the time.A feeling of being on edge. To mention, I also breastfeed my 1 year old. I have been nursing for almost 9 years. Maybe my body is so depleted with vitamins. Also my mother is very sick with kidney disease and now heart failure. I see her suffering everyday.She just had her lung drained of fluid yesterday and that tore my heart apart. I hope it is just stress but i am so scared the extra beat will just suddenly stop! I was diagnosed with reflux in November after a bout with esophogitis . I wonder if it can be connected to my heart symptoms. I just don't know what to do.  Any one out there going through the same thing?
Avatar universal
hey there....'skipped beats' are not extra beats as far as im aware...my cardiologist said 'skipped beats' are when your heart misses a beat, so then the next beat is really what you feel...its extra hard b.c of the extra blood pooled up in your heart.  extra beats im not familiar with.  3 'skipped' beats in a row is called trigemy if i rememeber right...and as long as your heart is 'strucurally' sound, most of the time benign.  Ive read a lot about how skipped beats can be the cause of vitamin deficiency or even taking vitamins...it so case specific.  Im so sorry to hear about all the stuff your dealing with with your mother :( I know stress and anxiety DEFINITLY can cause PVC's and PACs (premature ventricle/atrial contractions) aka causes skipped beats.  have you talked to your doc about this?  about the beat issues?  I know i always get heartburn/reflux, so i wonder if its related...what has your doc said?  have you seen a cardiologist?  when do you notice these extra beats? sitting doing nothing? being active?
267401 tn?1251852496
Technically, both PVCs and PACs are "extra beats" - but a PVC is an incomplete contraction of just the ventricles, a PAC is a complete contraction of atria and ventricles.  With either one of them, the heart recognizes it is out of rhythm and gives itself what is called a compensatory pause - a chance for all the heart's cells to get in time with the music again.  While the heart is waiting for that to happen, blood is collecting - that's why the next beat after either a PAC or a PVC is much harder - it's pumping a lot more blood.  But it's probably no stronger a beat than if you were to sprint up a flight of stairs and then feel for your pulse.

@babas - With all you have going on in your life right now I'm surprised you don't have more medical issues than you do - it's probably really hard to do, but see if you can't squirrel away some time during each day just for yourself, to do something relaxing.  I recommend something that engages your brain a little - not television, but maybe a book, or a walk with a friend (not alone, because then you can just think about your heart the whole time), or some other engaging activity.  And make sure you get enough rest, drink enough fluids - especially if you've been breast feeding for that long.

@Casper664 - It sounds like you've got a good attitude about it.  And unfortunately being in great shape is no guarantee of a trouble-free heart - stories abound of professional athletes with heart rhythm issues.  But of the issues to have, yours is about as harmless as they come.  Nice choice. :)
Avatar universal
I'm a 25-year-old female and I've been getting these since I was 13 or 14 I think. I got all these tests done in high school and everything was normal. Sometimes I will get them several days in a row, several times a day, and other times I go weeks without getting any. I've been trying to get better about exercising and exercise a few times a week for 40-50 minutes. I don't get them every time I exercise, but it happens somewhat frequently. It seems to happen toward the beginning of my work out, as my heart rate is going up. I heard that coughing can help "reset" the rhythm so I've tried that and it seems to help a little bit. It is scary though, I definitely don't like the feeling of skipped beats. Usually it feels like a twanging in my chest, like someone snapped a rubber band, or crushed an empty water bottle, or something. It's reassuring to see that I'm not the only one!
Avatar universal
Hi, I recently read your post regarding PACs during exercise, i have experienced PACs before but never while working out. Two weeks ago i started having episodes of PACs every single time im at the gym, i went to the Cardiologist had a stress test, echo, and holter , everything came back normal only the holter showed PACs while i was at the GYm, funny i felt like 30 of them but the holter recorded only 3. Anyways i just wanted to know how are you doing, have those continued, did they ever go away? Anything that can put my mind at ease.
Hello. I have had these since I was 12 and am now 37. The would come and go, but now I have about 10,000 a day. I would not worry about having a few here and there. You are not going to die from them! Just something we all have to deal with. I have been trying to be gluten free to see if that helps at all.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your response :)
Avatar universal
I completely understand.  I have stopped anything strenuous because I'm afraid my heart will stop or something.  Its so life altering.  I'm always thinking about my heart and if I do this or that what will my heart do.  It is so frustrating.  It makes you feel so alone.  I miss playing volleyball.  I use to dive all over the place and was fine.  Now I can play gently and my heart  takes off with the mild exertion and I'm afraid of the extra beats starting.  I know that I need exercise, but it's too scary and it feels to risky no matter what the Dr. says.  So very sorry. I really empathize.
OMG I feel exactly like you!! I only get PVCS on exertion and it’s come to be I’m afraid to do ANYTHING!! Even doing dishes brings them on. I feel like I’m going to die from the fear and the pretty much wanting to do nothing but sit on the couch and worry! I just can’t wrap my head around the fact these are normal! Why don’t I get them when I’m at rest? I’ve had every test...I’m going to get an ablation to see if that helps!! I’m glad other people have this so you don’t feel so alone!!
Avatar universal
I feel the same thing! Not everytime I exercise but its frecuent. Its usually when my heart rate is around 120 that I suddenly feel a very strong beat. I don`t feel a pause just a strong thump that scares the crap out of me. I've had an echo, blood work and several EKG's and everything came out fine. My EF is 70% which I guess is good. Due to feeling these I've stopped working out which I know is worse than the PVC's themselves, but I just get so scared! I just wish they would go away!
Avatar universal
Oh and I also have PVC's while at rest so its not only when I excercise. I get between 4 or 6 a month which I guess are not many, but when I do feel them they scare me so much!
Avatar universal
When I am doing cardio, I have them, REALLY bad.
It scares me everytime, so now I don't even do cardio anymore for fear I will drop dead on the treadmill, which sucks because I NEED to exercise to have a stronger heart.

Mine are pretty big, it feels like someone hits me in the chest and I lost my breath for a second and get light headed. I have seen several cardiologists and have had all of the tests done and all they can say is everything looks normal.

I don't just get mine when I am working out, though. I get them all the time. It's VERY frustrating.
I've had PVC/PACS pretty much non- stop from 6 months. I'm 63 years old have Afib and a pacemaker. This started after a cardio version and my Heart Doctor putting me on Sotolol. They are much worse during activity. I get them whether I exercise strenuously or just walk across the room. They subside when I sit and rest. My Doctor has no plans to do an ablation unless I go back into Afib. He says they are benign. A recent blood test showed my BNP Pro( heart failure) reading at 375. under 300 rules out heart failure. It's gone up 120 points in 4 months. I recently got a echo and have been waiting for the results for 4 days. No sense of urgency with my Doctor. I'm thinking about hiring a lawyer.  
Avatar universal
Only happens with exertion?

Any dyspnea?
Avatar universal
This was posted so many years ago but for some reason I have just started receiving email notices of postings. Odd technology sometimes. Anyway I just wanted to say that I relate. I am 44 and I have had noticeable PVC's and PAC's since I was 15 years old. I have seen 5 different cardiologists in my adult life and they all told me the same thing. "everyone has them but not everyone feels them. Some people have thousands a day and some people have 2 a year."
My last heart work up was January of 2016. The full works. Holter monitors, ekg's, stress test...the works. The tests revealed that I have around 300 PVC's/PAC's a day, on average.  Two cardiologists that I had review the results both said that my number was very low and not a concern. They said they don't become a concern unless I have upwards of 30,000 a day. They explained it like this; we have over 120,000 heart beats a day and if only 300 of mine are not "normal" then that is a small number. The large number becomes a concern because people can faint and etc.
I asked both of them this question "when should I worry?"  They both said that I should worry if I have chest pain that does not go away and if I lose consciousness. I asked them what they thought about the problems and my workouts and again they said that if I don't faint and if I don't have ongoing chest pain then just keep working out.
I have noticed that working out some days is worse than others. On days when my heart wants to give me trouble I just slow my heart rate down and keep it lower on that day. Otherwise I just keep working out normally.
In no way do I suggest that what the doctors found for me is the absolute solution for everyone. I know for sure that I got tired of worrying and wondering and so I pursued the tests and answers. I encourage everyone to get the tests and get a second opinion, if only for your peace of mind! It certainly helped me!
My response here is just intended to offer some peace of mind to those that overly worry like I did and sometimes still do!
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