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Avatar universal

PVC's ruining my life

I'm a 32 year old RN. I've been to the ER twice in the last 2 months for PVCs. They keep me up at night, wake me during sleep. I've tried cutting out alcohol, caffeine, nose spray. I've tried stress reduction, deep breathing, exercising. Nothing helps. The PVCs do wax and wane, seeming to intensify over a couple of days, then go away for a couple days. They seem to be occurring more regularly though, and they scare the hell out of me. While on the ECG monitor in the ER, I was having 8 or 9 PVCs a minute, with a few 2 or 3 beat runs (couplets and triplets) causing the monitor alarm to go off frequently. I will see my primary care doc in 2 days, and ask for a referral to a cardiologist for an echo and a holter monitor. I do have a family history of heart problems; my grandma and grandpa on my mom's side have both had heart attacks and grandpa a quadruple bypass in his 60's. I have been taking Metoprolol for 6 years, and the ER doc added Cardizem. I still have PVCs. They depress me, I feel alone. I can't sleep, I can't concentrate. My anxiety is through the roof. People seem to think that because I'm an RN, I should know my body, and I should know what to do. But I assure you that I definitely DO NOT know how to help myself except to go to a specialist and rule out any serious problems. I feel a strong sense of doom when these PVCs hit me. They are WAY worse at night, especially when I sit or lay down, and I forget about trying to sleep. If I happen to nod off while sitting up, I awaken to a choking feeling, like I can't catch my breath. I'm scared to be home alone in case something happens. I'm scared to drive in case I have a heart attack. I feel that these PVCs will stop my heart, or cause a blood clot from insufficient/uncoordinated pumping. Being an RN, I know about the worst-case-scenarios. But any normal person would be equally terrified by their hearts acting in such a way. I can feel every single abnormal beat. Then my heart races afterward. It's a vicious cycle and I'm scared and tired and worried. I know that anxiety only worsens the problem. I have always been hesitant to even consider using anxiety medication, but I feel that I should try taking them. Any one else out there feeling as weary and beat down as me? I have added this forum to my favorites tab, because it does help me to read about others out there who also identify with some of what I'm experiencing. I know I'm not alone.
15 Responses
212161 tn?1537898045
YES . I have been where your at and it is very scary.

just went threw all the heart test to make sure my heart is ok so when they start I might feel some better lol

I have pacs and ive had them since I was 20, I am 54 now, and they still scare me

as I have gotten older they now come more often and stay all day
went to er in sept was having them every fourth heart beat for over 10 hours, er said just pacs go home lol

had the last weds for 12 hours

so your not a lone. lots on here and we are all still alive. ive been so careful of what I eat and drink, trying to keep them away and yes your anxiety makes worse they say

here if you need to talk write/message me any time hang in there they will get better .      Heart
Avatar universal
Thanks. The thought of being stuck with these for 30 years, as you have been, really bothers me. I hope there's some medication or procedure I can have to stop this. Have you ever had ablation? What meds are you taking?
1464004 tn?1384139333
I was a nurse years ago and have worked for cardiologists for many years. You know what they say, doctors(and other healthcare workers )make the worst patients, myself included. We know in a healthy heart PVCs are benign but we worry ourselves crazy anyway. I've had PVC, PAC and SVT for almost forty years now. Have had my heart worked up many times and still get scared when I'm going through a bad bout (like now). The only thing I can say is, get your heart work up, maybe it will give you some piece of mind, and keep coming here it helps.
Avatar universal
I sympathise. I have had pvcs for 10 years now. They come and go, but terrify me during a bad spell. I had a trip to ER with bigeminy - cardiologist said I was fine and to go home. Try reading Dr David Richardsons answers about pvcs on the All Experts cardiology forum. He is a professor and his standard response is that in a structurally sound heart pvcs are benign, however frequent. I even printed off all his answers to read for reassurance. When you are feeling every thump for hours at a time, it is hard to be reassured though., but it does help. There is also a research paper by H L Kennedy ' Long term prognosis asymptomatic ectopics' - people with over 500 pvcs an hour had the same long term prognosis as the general population, ie. No risk of early death.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for posting about Dr. Richardson.  I am surprised that it got past the medhelp censor, but glad to see another site where a sensible doc tries to give helpful answers to worried people.
Avatar universal
The whole time I was reading this, I had tears in my eyes! you are by far, not alone!! I have had the similar wake up, choke thing also. I think that we are just so scared, that we are scared to even sleep!
My doc has put me on cardizam also, and recently upped the dose to 240 mg. It is helping, they are not gone, but more tolerable. When they are "bad" or what my doc likes to call an "episode"..(which I find funny...I've never watched a 4 month "episode" of anything) I am utterly terrified. I don't like to leave the house or even the chair.. or I will rush to get things done "in case" I drop dead. I make a lot of sense! Of course I have anxiety meds also. They seem to chill me out a little. Nothing like Xanax to keep ya from thinking your dying!
Everything I read say " in a structurally normal heart" well, to bad for me, I was born with a bicuspid arotic valve...nobody has answered me on if I'm in danger of something due to this...who knows!!
I just rambled on so you would know...we all do this..fret, fret, fret. I feel for you and my prayers are with you. Keep posting! It makes me feel better to talk to people! God Bless
Hi Wendy! I know this was an old post, but I wanna let you know that I also was born with BAV. I have had 3 different cardiologists confirmed and assured me that (1) BAV is not considered structurally abnormal heart, and (2) BAV does not cause nor relate to PVC, PAC, or any other ectopic beats/palpitations at all whatsoever. We have a normal heart structurally, just not normal aortic valve. BAV will never cause nor is ever related to palpitations. Now, on the other hand, people with MVP will tend to cause and relate to these ectopic beats.
Avatar universal
Hello I have just joined this forum and these people provide so much valuable support I can't thank them enough I started to have a few thousand of these beats per day. I have been to ER once and everything was fine. I was very active and exercised a lot. I had always had them from time to time but I had no idea you could get so many a day. I have had a holter which recorded over 3000 but still normal. I have an echo next week and see the cardio next month. I felt just like you I cried everyday on my way to work and felt like I was just going through the motions. Night times to for me can be really bad. I do get a sense from other forum members that no matter how frequent or how many years we have them there will still be times where it mentally and physically challenging. I felt like Wendy11975 when I read your post. However I do feel fine with them I don't have any other symptoms only the thumping and different feelings they give me at times, so I'm guessing I will be fine. I know that I have felt very alone even though my husband is supportive. It's still a lonely experience. I am going through the perimenopause stage so the doctor said to has contributed to mine as well.
I hope things improve soon for you.
Avatar universal
Marlinspike where is the All experts cardiology forum located?
Avatar universal
Yes, sometimes I just hope I make it through the day and not miss car pool pick-up; the thought of my daughter looking for me after school is horrible! I guess it's funny, worrying about missing pick-up, but I am a natural born worrier. At night, when my husband gets home, he asks me how I'm feeling. I try not to mention how terrified I am for the night to come, how scared I am to lay down. I want to tell him that I wish I could cuddle and forget about my heart trouble. But I don't want to disrupt my household with my problems. I hate for my 9 year old daughter to see me pacing around, or see the worry on my face. So I try to keep it to myself. Last night I sat alone, on the couch until 3 am, when I finally dozed off. I have to be in front of the TV to keep myself distracted as much as possible. But when the PVCs hit, there's no humanly way for me to ignore them. I have sat and cried many times, out of exhaustion and worry. It's funny that I made it all the way through nursing school and state boards and never had a single PVC. Now that I'm about to start my nursing career, here I am with this problem. Maybe my heart just got sick of the constant adrenaline from school and clinical. Maybe this is the price I pay for putting myself through all of that.
Avatar universal
I know exactly where your coming from! I have 4 kids and I am a worrier times 10!! (this does not help us "skippers") I know how it feels not to share what your going through. A, they wont understand and B, you don't want to worry them.
I believe you said you were put on Cardizem. That may help. It seems to be helping me. The lowest dose didn't help, and neither did the next dose, but now I'm on 240mg once a day and they are much more tolerable. ( took 5 weeks to figure that out!) But that terrified me also, had to call the pharmacist and make sure he didn't think it was to much medication...I thought my BP would get too low and I would pass out! I was fine of course just needed reassurance...good grief!
I hope the dr apt will bring you some peace. Ask a gazillion questions if you want to (that's why their there) and maybe speak to the doc about the anxiety your having. You need your rest, for you, your family and now your patients. Best of luck at the doctors! Prayers for you
212161 tn?1537898045
Wow I have been where your at, got my pacs at age 20 had two small boys I was scard to be left alone, go out etc, was so scard of dying

Now 30 years later my pacs are much worse and I seem to deal with them better

I use to have a few here and there , now I have them for hours,straight, or weeks

Funny how we adjust to things, yes they still scare me, I have health anxiety with them so I know how you feel

Hang in there, prayers the meds help as I know it won't stop them but might get them under control so you can relax a little and see your ok
1423357 tn?1511089042
PVC's are not my "area", but in the last 10 years, I began to suffer from clusters of thousands per day that would appear for a couple of weeks, then subside for a few days before appearing again.  I had also experienced a near lifetime of SVT episodes, and associated this new malady with the aging process and my SVT.

A new general practitioner and a routine blood test to establish a baseline revealed Secondary Polysythemia, an over abundant supply of red blood cells.  The GP questioned me at length regarding my sleep habits, the horrific snoring I did, bolting up in bed with a deep gasp, and established a hunch.  He ordered a sleep study for me.  That revealed very severe obstructive sleep apnea.  He immediately ordered CPAP therapy.  I wore the equipment religiously (still do) and gradually the PVC's began to subside.  Eventually they vanished completely never to return.  When I reported this to my physician, his theory was that my heart was fatigued and literally "annoyed" by the dangerously low oxygen levels that I slept at.  Added to this was that I was being aroused 60 time per hour, so I wasn't getting any quality sleep. Around the same time as this discovery, I also switched to a Paleo dietary lifestyle, shunning carbohydrates and favoring fats, and protein instead.  Excess weight literally melted off of me, and three years later, I still eat in this manner.  

The point of all this is to urge you to look for something within your daily life that could be affecting your heart, be it OSA like me, or possibly some dietary change that could be affecting it.  Be proactive as opposed to waiting for the professionals to make a move.  Make some changes and see if it has an effect.  You might stumble onto your personal cure.

I certainly remember what they were like, and also remember how they affected my active life as a male in his early to mid 50's at the time
Avatar universal
I'm 66 and have  had pvcs for 5 months. Was given metoprolol 12.5mg ...but had side effects so approved to stop. Pvcs very mild now.
Possible one or more drugs is making it worse for you? I am lucky in that heart apparently in good shape, so pvcs benign. It took weeks of giving up everything, healthy living, etc., but finally almost back to normal.
Avatar universal
read my post of a few minutes to Floss - it saves my 70 year old two fingers from wearing out. W're with you - hang in there kid, you will be OK!!
goodonya. (that's Aussie for cheers)

Avatar universal
Like so many others I totally relate to your description of the PVC disruption to life. Interested in knowing two years later what if any changes you have experienced and what might have helped you if anything?
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