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What is the difference between PVC's and afib?

So I have had palps since I was 15, and am now 24. Though unfortunately I have been diagnosed with a slight anxiety issue (who wouldn't with all these irregular beats!)  ive had multiple ekg's, a holter monitor when I was 16, and even had a lovely ride to the ER in an ambulance when I had my one and only full scale panic attack where they monitored my heart for quite some time while it was pounding away but they didn't notice anything. ive also had an echo that checked out okay. The ambulance and Echo happened within the last year. My cardiologist has not been able to pick up the palps, which can be quite disturbing and often at times, which has me a little concerned. How do I know these are just benign PVC's? twice since I was 14 I had these crazy 5 second "runs" of erratic feeling heart beats that felt weaker than a PVC. My concern is, am I just having benign PVC's like my cardiologist says? Or am I having episodes of afib? Because when I read about the symptoms of afib, they sound an awful like what someone with PVC's has.
Thanks for all your help.
1 Responses
1807132 tn?1318743597
Without your symptoms being captured on a monitor it is impossible to say for sure but odds are great that you do not have afib.  Afib generally presents in older folks who have a history of high blood pressure or in younger folks who have very high intensity lives like athletes.  Your symptoms sound more like run of the mill premature beats.  The runs sound likely to be more akin to runs of pacs than pvcs.  When I had my few runs of pvcs it felt like a thumping in the bottom of my heart as opposed to the runs of pacs which feel higher up and faint like you say.  We can have both but sometimes what we think is a pvc is really a pac.  Pac, premature beats in the atria can mimic pvcs or premature beats from the ventricles.

When you notice the runs try to cough and see if that helps.  Also avoid heavy meals, caffeine,  sugar and carbohydrates, spicy foods.  Try to stay well hydrated as dehydration can cause more premature beats as well keep sodium to a minimum.   Manage any stomach issues like acid reflux and work on your stress and anxiety.  These are the biggest triggers and if you can minimize them you may be able to help alleviate the  extra beats.  If your electrolytes are imbalance that could be part of the problem as well so if you haven't had a blood test in a while you may want to get one to make sure all your levels are in line.  Other than that just try to not fret about them.  In a healthy heart they are not a concern.  Odds are you are not having afib but if you keep having symptoms you may want to ask your doctor for an echo just to have peace of mind about the overall health of your heart.     Take care.  Keep us posted on how you are doing.
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