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lolly906
@lolly906

Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 11, 2018

Premature atrial contractions

Posted by @lolly906, Fri, Aug 17 7:57pm

I was now just recently told I have Premature Atrial Contractions, or P.A.C, after being on a holter monitor for 48 hrs. I was told this after my higher then normal calcium score, and was told p.a.c. is benign., but im still worried. I was put on monitor after I felt my heart pounding hard in my left neck area. Im wondering if anyone has any helpful info on this? Im really worried acutally, even cancelled my colonoscopy due to the laxative saying it could cause irregular heartbeat. it seems I can feel my heart skip beats at times or speed up! very scary to me. Im wondering if anyone else has this? I am 58 yrs old and am on lovastatin for high cholesterol thanks

REPLY

I also don't understand what the difference is between premature atrial contractions and premature ventricular contractions, is one worse than the other or are they the same?

Hi from Karen. Atrial fibrillation refers to the upper chambers of the heart and ventricular refers to the lower chambers. I understand from my cardiologist that PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) are the last harmful and that almost everyone gets them from time to time. Atrial fibrillation is irregular beats and often fast and more dangerous.

Correction: Typo – PVC's are the LEAST harmful…..

I wouldn't worry about it, I was at work about 12 years ag ad could feel my heart apparently skipping beats. I asked my secretary to take my pulse and she immediately told me to go to the doctor. I wore a monitor for 24 hours confirming PAC's. Doctor said not to be concerned. My cholesterol is under control with Crestor and Zetia although due to my calcium score of 2014 is probably going to cause me to start using Repatha also this month, They want my LDL down to 20 from 50! I only notice the PAC's now when under stress. Retiring 2 years ago has greatly reduced my PAC's.

Karen I was told the atrial was the least concerning because its in lower chambers? Iam confused now. Thank You Keith for all the info, I have been under a lot of stress lately and now this has made me more stressed! It sure helped me with your info! Karen Thank you to!

Anyone on the Connect team want to weigh in on both P.A.C's and P.V.C's ? just want to get this figured out Thanks

Here is a good explanation of ectopic rhythm from HealthLine https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/ectopic-heartbeat
The article explains:
"Premature atrial contraction
An early heartbeat that originates in the heart’s upper chambers (atria) is a premature atrial contraction (PAC). In healthy children, irregular heartbeats are almost always PACs and are harmless.

Premature ventricular contraction
When the irregularity comes from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles), it is called a premature ventricular contraction (PVC). The risk of PVC rises with age. You are at increased risk of PVC if you have a family history of PVC or if you have had a heart attack."

@lolly906 I've attached a diagram of the heart showing the location of the atria and ventricles. Sometimes seeing an image helps to recall which is which.

Heart Anatomy

@colleenyoung

Here is a good explanation of ectopic rhythm from HealthLine https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/ectopic-heartbeat
The article explains:
"Premature atrial contraction
An early heartbeat that originates in the heart’s upper chambers (atria) is a premature atrial contraction (PAC). In healthy children, irregular heartbeats are almost always PACs and are harmless.

Premature ventricular contraction
When the irregularity comes from the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles), it is called a premature ventricular contraction (PVC). The risk of PVC rises with age. You are at increased risk of PVC if you have a family history of PVC or if you have had a heart attack."

@lolly906 I've attached a diagram of the heart showing the location of the atria and ventricles. Sometimes seeing an image helps to recall which is which.

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Thank you Colleen this helps a lot!

When I turned 50 I developed Atrial Fibrillation, the primary episodic variety. After 5 years the condition was successfully corrected with an ablation procedure (I’m 61 now). However, I was unable to finish my followup with the surgeon because of a move to a different Canadian province. Since the ablation I’ve developed two things: first of all, I get strings of back to back PACs (ie, 40-50 heartbeats in a row where every other one is a PAC, then pause for a few normal beats, then the same again). This will continue for a couple of hours, daily. This always happens between lunch and supper, never in the morning or evening. It can also be triggered by doing physical work with my upper body. I’ve discussed this with my family doctor, and she’s checked all my levels (blood suger, cortisol, thyroid, etc.), but everything is normal, so she says she can’t refer me to a cardiologist, even though I suggested that I needed to finish followup. None of this happened before the ablation. It is NOT anxiety: I have no mortgage, no debt, a beautiful home and wife, a loving family, a great, good-paying job and no other health issues. Life is extremely good—we even live next door to some of the premiere beaches in Canada. I know these issues are not serious, but they’re really annoying, uncomfortable and basically driving me crazy. Is there anything I can do?

Welcome to Connect, @jddart.

You may notice that I moved your discussion to this conversation taking place about premature atrial contractions (PAC) as I thought it would be beneficial for you to be introduced to the many members who have discussed much of what you are experiencing.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

Any symptoms related to the heart can be quite worrisome; here's some information about PACs: https://www.healthline.com/health/atrial-premature-complexes I'm also tagging Mentors @predictable @hopeful33250 to bring them into this discussion and share their thoughts.
@jddart, I'm a bit surprised that your family doctor cannot refer you to a cardiologist; would you be able to consult one without her referral?

@kanaazpereira

Welcome to Connect, @jddart.

You may notice that I moved your discussion to this conversation taking place about premature atrial contractions (PAC) as I thought it would be beneficial for you to be introduced to the many members who have discussed much of what you are experiencing.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

Any symptoms related to the heart can be quite worrisome; here's some information about PACs: https://www.healthline.com/health/atrial-premature-complexes I'm also tagging Mentors @predictable @hopeful33250 to bring them into this discussion and share their thoughts.
@jddart, I'm a bit surprised that your family doctor cannot refer you to a cardiologist; would you be able to consult one without her referral?

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I'm somewhat surprised as well, since I was due to have followup after my ablation. In fact, she seemed somewhat offended when I point blank asked to be referred to a cardiologist. I've had this conversation with her about three times, always with the same result. In the final conversation I said, "is there someone I can speak to who can finish my cardiac followup and sort out what's going on here?" and she said, "That would be me." In the Canadian system you cannot simply make an appointment with a specialist. Even if I went to the ER or a walk-in clinic, they would refer me back to her, so I seem to be stuck. I did get her to prescribe a Holtor monitor for a couple of days; the results of that test were seen by a cardiologist, but, of course, while I had the monitor on, nothing happened. So this is why I'm posting here. My only hope is that I can convince her to prescribe the monitor again, that what I'm experiencing will be recorded, and the cardiologist will see it.

@jddart

I am sorry to hear of your doctor's reluctance to refer you to a cardiologist. That is most unfortunate. Is there any appeal process within the Canadian health system?

Liked by lioness

@hopeful33250

@jddart

I am sorry to hear of your doctor's reluctance to refer you to a cardiologist. That is most unfortunate. Is there any appeal process within the Canadian health system?

Jump to this post

Honestly, my wife and I love our doctor, and taking into consideration the fact that my condition is more annoying than life-threatening, it wouldn't be worth it to make that much of an issue and risk alienating her. In a very small province like PEI we were very fortunate to even get a doctor; hundreds of people out of a total population of 150,000 are without doctors. So I've turned instead to this community group for any insight I might be able to get.

I have both pacs and pvcs. Pacs are almost always benign and nothing to worry about.pvcs are usually benign but are a little more worrisome because they come from the lower chambers of your heart. I don’t worry at all about my pacs except they feel scary. I do worry about my pvcs even though they don’t seem to feel as nasty.

Yes, I'm one of those people, a "highly sensitive person," who can feel every heartbeat, especially the wrong beats. Having come out of years of episodes of A-Fib, these strings of PACs and PVCs that last for hours feel too much like A-Fib. I also get SVT mixed in as well, so the whole combination feels like I'm having an episode of A-Fib, even though I know I'm not. It's at the very least annoying, but at worst uncomfortable and unsettling, because it brings back the memory and associated emotions I experienced with A-Fib episodes. My question here is, what can be done about it? I have trouble believing that there's nothing that can change the pattern. Do I need to get more sleep, do I need to stop eating some specific thing, do I need to change my routine, since the patterns seems to be linked to the time of day and the activity I'm doing? Has anyone successfully reduced the frequency of heart rhythm anomalies by changing their lifestyle? That's my question.

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