Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)

Posted by MichSophie @mlcheyne, May 6, 2019

Recently diagnosed with PVCs and I’m getting really frustrated and scared at the same time. Taking 10mg propranolol twice per day which does help cut down the intensity. But I’ve also noticed with most PVCs I’m also feeling the flutters in my upper abdomen as well as my throat. I’m going to see my doctor in a couple of weeks but was wondering if anyone else has had the same expression of symptoms. Thanks a bunch!!

@afrobin

Check the side effects of medications. Speak to your pharmacist who is THE expert and studied drugs for years in university. For example, Catmom above has a thyroid problem and a side effect of her medication is arrhythmia. Medications are something you want to avoid at all costs unless absolutely necessary because they cause their own set of problems.

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I could NOT agree more. Privately, cardiologists have expressed to me their concerns over the ubiquitous use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) , for example, which first were prescription, now over-the-counter – for GERD, hearburn, reflux (Nexium, Aciphex, many, many brands – all these drugs have "…prazole" at the end, like omeprazole). Not only do they significantly raise the risk of heart attack but can cause low magnesium, producing heart arrhythmia. Yet, docs often don't know this, don't have time to read all the literature and, frankly, PPIs make patients shuttup about their heartburn and reflux and stop complaining – but at what cost? It was thought for years PPIs would reduce the risk of gastroesophageal cancer in those with Barrett's – that is now questionable, too. Anyway, my point is that there is much that can be done with lifestyle changes and critical thinking about what might have precipitated arrhythmia, including a-fib.

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@afrobin

Afib is not necessarily for life, Catmom. I cured mine with daily exercise. And my case was so severe that I didn't have 3 normal beats in a row; the worst case my cardiologist had ever seen. I do stay FAR AWAY from coffee, tea, alcohol as I said. It could take weeks after you cut it out of your regime, to finally let your heart calm down. As I recall you only have episodes every few weeks…and they are short lived. In consultation with your doctor of course, you may want to exercise daily, cut out all stimulants and then lower your beta blocker dose and get off them completely. Americans are the biggest users of medical drugs in the world. Life-style changes could be your ticket to optimal health.

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Absolutely true. However, the most research – surprisingly – does NOT show any association with a-fib and coffee but, of course, people should stay away from anything that seems to precipitate their arrhythmia. Oddly, several studies have recently found caffeine may reduce a-fib episodes. Alcohol, on the other hand, has been recently shown to have a far great impact on a-fib than previously thought – any alcohol at all. So it might be a good idea for those with atrial fibrillation to eliminate it entirely. Also losing weight will lower the risk of a-fib and can reduce the odds of repeat a-fib episodes. "Conclusions A higher caffeine intake (>165 mmol/day or > 320 mg/day) is associated with a lower incidence of atrial fibrillation in the 12-year epidemiological prospective setting based on the general population." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29692210

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@afrobin

Afib is not necessarily for life, Catmom. I cured mine with daily exercise. And my case was so severe that I didn't have 3 normal beats in a row; the worst case my cardiologist had ever seen. I do stay FAR AWAY from coffee, tea, alcohol as I said. It could take weeks after you cut it out of your regime, to finally let your heart calm down. As I recall you only have episodes every few weeks…and they are short lived. In consultation with your doctor of course, you may want to exercise daily, cut out all stimulants and then lower your beta blocker dose and get off them completely. Americans are the biggest users of medical drugs in the world. Life-style changes could be your ticket to optimal health.

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from research presented at the recent American College of Cardiology meeting re: alchol and a-fib: "Alcohol-AF Trial: It is well known that binge alcohol consumption (holiday heart) can trigger atrial fibrillation (AF) and that observational studies show a higher incident of AF with higher amounts of alcohol consumption. This trial was the first ever randomized controlled trial of alcohol abstinence in moderate drinkers with paroxysmal AF (minimum of two episodes in the last 6 months) or persistent AF requiring cardioversion.
Participants consuming at least 10 standard drinks per week at baseline were randomized to abstinence or usual consumption. They underwent comprehensive rhythm monitoring with implantable loop recorders or existing pacemakers and twice daily AliveCor monitoring for 6 months.
Abstinence prolonged AF-free survival by 37% (118 vs 86 days) and lowered the AF burden from 8.2% to 5.6%AF-related hospitalizations occurred in 9% of abstinent patients versus 20% of controls. Those in the abstinence arm also experienced improved symptom severity, weight loss, and BP control. This trial givesprecise numbers to present to my AF patients to show them how important eliminating alcohol consumption is if they want to have fewer AF episodes.

It further emphasizes the point that lifestyle changes (including weight loss, exercise, and stress-reduction) can dramatically reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation." Source: https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/skeptical-cardiologist/78756

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Actually, the doctor was experimenting with taking me off levothyroxine to see if it would make my afib go away or lessen the incidents because I was on a low dose. She said that the generic thyroid meds (for low thyroid) had inconsistent doses and sometimes were too much and sometimes too little. I don't know if going off the med lessened my symptoms because that was early on when I was having a lot of symptoms. My triggers actually seem to be getting very tired or getting anxious or getting dehydrated. I got home this week from a trip and had several afib incidents on it because I was getting too tired and the plane trips especially made me anxious and it's hard to get enough water when you travel.
My doc will put me back on thyroid meds again if my next blood test shows my thyroid is low again. Then we'll see again if I'm affected or not.
After much reflection on this, I am sure I initially got afib from a combination of stress, some alcohol (I did not get drunk–had only two glasses), acid reflux, and bronchitis when I sometimes have a hard time breathing. My heart acted like it was starving for oxygen.

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@catmom777

Actually, the doctor was experimenting with taking me off levothyroxine to see if it would make my afib go away or lessen the incidents because I was on a low dose. She said that the generic thyroid meds (for low thyroid) had inconsistent doses and sometimes were too much and sometimes too little. I don't know if going off the med lessened my symptoms because that was early on when I was having a lot of symptoms. My triggers actually seem to be getting very tired or getting anxious or getting dehydrated. I got home this week from a trip and had several afib incidents on it because I was getting too tired and the plane trips especially made me anxious and it's hard to get enough water when you travel.
My doc will put me back on thyroid meds again if my next blood test shows my thyroid is low again. Then we'll see again if I'm affected or not.
After much reflection on this, I am sure I initially got afib from a combination of stress, some alcohol (I did not get drunk–had only two glasses), acid reflux, and bronchitis when I sometimes have a hard time breathing. My heart acted like it was starving for oxygen.

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There are several studies now showing total abstinance – not ANY alcohol – may even eliminate all afib episodes in some people.. something to consider if it might be a trigger.

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When I had Afib, (non-stop, 24/7, out of control heart beats, possibly like you, it was actually TEA that started the whole thing. Also my mother was dying… I had a client who wanted tea (which I never drank at that point) and I made a big pot and we 'enjoyed' it all afternoon. My heart was racing as soon as the tea kicked in and then a couple of hours later it went out of control. It took a massive dose of beta blockers to keep it under control.

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I am following now as I have been experience these extra beats. My Apple Watch has recorded them also. When is it an emergency ??

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@jadillow

I am following now as I have been experience these extra beats. My Apple Watch has recorded them also. When is it an emergency ??

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My cardiologist told me when I first went to see him with not even 3 normal beats in a row that out of 10 people who see him with skipped beats, he medicates only one. I was that one. He said that if a patient came to him with skipped beats but was not feeling faint or having to gasp to get enough oxygen, (which was the case with me) he would not medicate. My daughter at the time who was about 20 years old was also experiencing occasional skipped beats and I took her to see him. She had no other symptoms besides the skips and thumps and he said she was fine. I tried to get her to go easy on the coffee but she wouldn't listen. LOL Bottom line: I wouldn't be overly concerned…but see your doctor to rule out anything serious. Once I got off the medication, I cut out alcohol, coffee, tea, chocolate, stress… I have been doing that for over 20 years in order to keep my heart steady and it works for me. No recurrence.

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@afrobin

My cardiologist told me when I first went to see him with not even 3 normal beats in a row that out of 10 people who see him with skipped beats, he medicates only one. I was that one. He said that if a patient came to him with skipped beats but was not feeling faint or having to gasp to get enough oxygen, (which was the case with me) he would not medicate. My daughter at the time who was about 20 years old was also experiencing occasional skipped beats and I took her to see him. She had no other symptoms besides the skips and thumps and he said she was fine. I tried to get her to go easy on the coffee but she wouldn't listen. LOL Bottom line: I wouldn't be overly concerned…but see your doctor to rule out anything serious. Once I got off the medication, I cut out alcohol, coffee, tea, chocolate, stress… I have been doing that for over 20 years in order to keep my heart steady and it works for me. No recurrence.

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Thanks. This just really started yesterday. Once I walk around and then stop or sit down, I can feel it. Several times in a row and my watch ECG shows the sudden beat Two or three normally in 30 seconds. I have had heart tests for the past 6 months and all with no issue other than bradycardia. Is it normal to feel this many many times all day long with no issues ?

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I'll bet it will all stop….and consequently stop concerning you if you cut coffee out of your life ENTIRELY. That goes for alcohol as well. Tea, decongestants, dentist freezing etc.. I'll bet this will all be thing of the past. Are you willing to do that? I have for 22 years and except for 2 days of a few blips every minute during a very stressful period, I have been absolutely fine!

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@jadillow

Thanks. This just really started yesterday. Once I walk around and then stop or sit down, I can feel it. Several times in a row and my watch ECG shows the sudden beat Two or three normally in 30 seconds. I have had heart tests for the past 6 months and all with no issue other than bradycardia. Is it normal to feel this many many times all day long with no issues ?

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Have you worn a holster monitor for an extended period of time?

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@sue225

Have you worn a holster monitor for an extended period of time?

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Oops typo: that's a "holter monitor":)

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