PVCs and Coronary Artery Disease

Posted by MichSophie @mlcheyne, Wed, Apr 3 8:31pm

I’m a 46 year old female who was diagnosed last year with a 30-50% blockage in my LAD. The treatment is Zocor at this time. Today I was diagnosed as having PVCs…something I’ve been trying to figure out for the last 4 years and it was finally caught on an EKG. These PVCs are terrifying and I’m looking for some insight from others who have the same issue. How do you manage through the PVCs and not let the unsettling feeling overtake your mind. I feel like my peace of mind has been completely stolen from me and at 46, it seems the road ahead is going to be a long one.

What is PVCs?

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@nene22

What is PVCs?

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Premature ventricular contractions. Very common even in healthy people.

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Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra, abnormal heartbeats that begin in the ventricles, or lower pumping chambers, and disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a skipped beat or palpitations. PVCs — also called also called premature ventricular complexes, ventricular premature beats and extrasystoles — are very common and usually harmless.

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Hi, prior to my transplant i had a heart that was plagued with arruthmias and i would get PVCs also. I was told that mine never were sustained enough to worry about. They are tho bothersome for me it made me think i was going into an arruthmia attack. So when i got PVCs they usually didn't last but maybe 10 min max most times only a few minutes. And i had a pacemaker which recorded them and the drs would only say oh don't worry you didn't have many. So i guess the question is what does your drs say. And maybe wearing a 48 hour holter would help them figure out if they are dangerous. Mine never did cause a attack of arrythimias so even tho they play with your mind they didn't leat to anything with me. Hope that helps.

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@danab

Hi, prior to my transplant i had a heart that was plagued with arruthmias and i would get PVCs also. I was told that mine never were sustained enough to worry about. They are tho bothersome for me it made me think i was going into an arruthmia attack. So when i got PVCs they usually didn't last but maybe 10 min max most times only a few minutes. And i had a pacemaker which recorded them and the drs would only say oh don't worry you didn't have many. So i guess the question is what does your drs say. And maybe wearing a 48 hour holter would help them figure out if they are dangerous. Mine never did cause a attack of arrythimias so even tho they play with your mind they didn't leat to anything with me. Hope that helps.

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Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with PVCs. I’m meeting with my cardiologist Tuesday to further discuss my situation. I truly appreciate you sharing your story. Right now I’m just scared because they feel absolutely horrible when they happen.

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Hi mlcheyne! When I was exactly 46 like you, suddenly my heart went wonky. I did not have 3 normal beats in a row. My heartbeats were all over the place. I saw a cardiologist who told me, "Out of 10 people who come to see me with PVCs and irregular heart beats, I treat 1 of them. You are the 1 in 10.". He said that he only treats the condition IF the person feels faint or has to constantly take breaths to get enough air. That was the case with me. He sent me for a holter monitor test and the equipment stopped functioning because the beats were too erratic. I thought it was quite funny at the time…

I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation. I required the highest dose of beta blocker to control the Afib; so high that the cardiologist told me that I had to try to reduce the dose even slightly because such a high dose could make my heart suddenly stop. It wasn't so funny after all… Try as I might, I could not reduce the dose even a bit without the arrhythmia returning with a vengeance.

Finally, after almost 2 years of feeling really rotten and sluggish and like an old lady on the high dose of beta blockers, believe it or not, I CURED MYSELF!. I joined a gym and went on the treadmill every day for 35 minutes and did the regular strength training for another half hour. As the cardiologist recommended, I tried to lower the dose of beta blocker by 10%…and it worked! My heart stayed stable. I reduced it by a bit more and inside a month, I was going to the gym every day but Sunday and I was completely OFF the beta blockers. This went on for 2 months and then 3 months and no blips. (Of course I didn't touch a drop of any stimulant, not even a sip of coffee or tea for example).

I went to see the cardiologist and he said it was impossible that my Afib was cured and to prepare myself because it would come back. After 4 months I stopped going to the gym 6 days of the week. The Afib still didn't come back.

Fast forward 24 years and here I am at 70 years old (everyone says I look and act 15 years younger) and I have had the occasional flutter and blip over the years but my heart is stable. You can believe that I am highly motivated to avoid any and all stimulants for life. No coffee, tea, coke or energy drinks, no alcohol whatsoever, no exposure to cigarette smoke, no liquorice and not even too much sugar, no ephedrine which is in decongestants and the standard dental freezing. I even check vitamin supplements to make sure there are no stimulants like Gingko biloba etc..

My blood pressure is high in spite of medication. I have to lose 30 pounds which I know lowers it even with a 5 pound loss. If I could cure my Afib, I can cure my high BP. I just need to be as determined and disciplined.

If your PVCs are just an annoyance but otherwise you don't feel faint, dizzy or air hungry etc… you may not be put on meds. Thank your lucky stars if that's the case. Since you have 4 days before you see the cardiologist, why not cut out ALL the stimulants in your diet and see if these PVCs don't disappear completely? Don't even have one sip of coffee; not even decaf. Better to change your lifestyle (slightly) than to go on drugs that have their unpleasant side effects and compromise your health.

Can you let us know how your appointment goes? I think you will be sent for a holter monitor and blood tests, stress test and echocardiogram etc..to rule out any serious issues. But in the meantime, stay clear of stimulants. What do you think, mlcheyne?

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@afrobin

Hi mlcheyne! When I was exactly 46 like you, suddenly my heart went wonky. I did not have 3 normal beats in a row. My heartbeats were all over the place. I saw a cardiologist who told me, "Out of 10 people who come to see me with PVCs and irregular heart beats, I treat 1 of them. You are the 1 in 10.". He said that he only treats the condition IF the person feels faint or has to constantly take breaths to get enough air. That was the case with me. He sent me for a holter monitor test and the equipment stopped functioning because the beats were too erratic. I thought it was quite funny at the time…

I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation. I required the highest dose of beta blocker to control the Afib; so high that the cardiologist told me that I had to try to reduce the dose even slightly because such a high dose could make my heart suddenly stop. It wasn't so funny after all… Try as I might, I could not reduce the dose even a bit without the arrhythmia returning with a vengeance.

Finally, after almost 2 years of feeling really rotten and sluggish and like an old lady on the high dose of beta blockers, believe it or not, I CURED MYSELF!. I joined a gym and went on the treadmill every day for 35 minutes and did the regular strength training for another half hour. As the cardiologist recommended, I tried to lower the dose of beta blocker by 10%…and it worked! My heart stayed stable. I reduced it by a bit more and inside a month, I was going to the gym every day but Sunday and I was completely OFF the beta blockers. This went on for 2 months and then 3 months and no blips. (Of course I didn't touch a drop of any stimulant, not even a sip of coffee or tea for example).

I went to see the cardiologist and he said it was impossible that my Afib was cured and to prepare myself because it would come back. After 4 months I stopped going to the gym 6 days of the week. The Afib still didn't come back.

Fast forward 24 years and here I am at 70 years old (everyone says I look and act 15 years younger) and I have had the occasional flutter and blip over the years but my heart is stable. You can believe that I am highly motivated to avoid any and all stimulants for life. No coffee, tea, coke or energy drinks, no alcohol whatsoever, no exposure to cigarette smoke, no liquorice and not even too much sugar, no ephedrine which is in decongestants and the standard dental freezing. I even check vitamin supplements to make sure there are no stimulants like Gingko biloba etc..

My blood pressure is high in spite of medication. I have to lose 30 pounds which I know lowers it even with a 5 pound loss. If I could cure my Afib, I can cure my high BP. I just need to be as determined and disciplined.

If your PVCs are just an annoyance but otherwise you don't feel faint, dizzy or air hungry etc… you may not be put on meds. Thank your lucky stars if that's the case. Since you have 4 days before you see the cardiologist, why not cut out ALL the stimulants in your diet and see if these PVCs don't disappear completely? Don't even have one sip of coffee; not even decaf. Better to change your lifestyle (slightly) than to go on drugs that have their unpleasant side effects and compromise your health.

Can you let us know how your appointment goes? I think you will be sent for a holter monitor and blood tests, stress test and echocardiogram etc..to rule out any serious issues. But in the meantime, stay clear of stimulants. What do you think, mlcheyne?

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Thank you so much for your thoughtful response and your encouraging words. I am so appreciative of your reply. Many years ago I eliminated coffee, alcohol, etc from my diet. I’ve had these palpitations for several years but no one could figure out the issue so I tried everything I could to reduce possible irritants. Now I know they are PVCs. The problem compounding the PVCs which I’ve read are generally benign on their own is that I also have coronary artery disease, specifically a build up in my LAD artery. Last evening the PVCs carried on for an hour or so with fluctuations from normal rhythm to every third beat a PVC (I can see it on my EKG output). I’m quite scared and feel completely helpless. I don’t know how people can carry on in their days when the heart beats so erratically. I’m afraid to move around, eat, talk or do anything that might jostle my heart for fear it’ll trigger another PVC. I hope the doctor has some encouraging words on Tuesday.

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Hello mlcheyne, Without scaring you, I think you should really go to the hospital if your heart is beating that erratically. Tell me, do you feel faint, dizzy or short of breath when you have these episodes? You didn't say whether you are seeing your GP or a cardiologist on Tuesday. I hope the latter. If today you have a repeat of the PVCs, you could go to the hospital where they will do tests, the results of which will be ready for the doctor on Tuesday. In hospital you would see a cardiologist and get your condition evaluated thoroughly. Let us know how you are doing. All the best!

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@danab

Hi, prior to my transplant i had a heart that was plagued with arruthmias and i would get PVCs also. I was told that mine never were sustained enough to worry about. They are tho bothersome for me it made me think i was going into an arruthmia attack. So when i got PVCs they usually didn't last but maybe 10 min max most times only a few minutes. And i had a pacemaker which recorded them and the drs would only say oh don't worry you didn't have many. So i guess the question is what does your drs say. And maybe wearing a 48 hour holter would help them figure out if they are dangerous. Mine never did cause a attack of arrythimias so even tho they play with your mind they didn't leat to anything with me. Hope that helps.

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Woah! Not many people start a post with "Prior to my transplant…". Can I ask what happened that lead to a heart transplant? Certainly not PVCs with the doctors telling you not to worry. Arrhythmias can be treated with meds. How did you go from that to a transplant?
Btw, when you say you had a pacemaker, I think you mean a Holter monitor to record the heart activity over a 24 hour period.
I am interested/curious to know what lead to such a drastic medical procedure…and what caused it if you don't mind sharing.

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Sure no problem, my bio is as follows its pretty long.
A little background on me back in 2008 I caught a virus that caused major damage to my Heart. I was rushed to the hospital barely able to breath when lying down. After a couple of days sleeping sitting up I realized the flu I had was not getting better. I went to the er only to discover that fluid had built ip around my lungs and heart making it hard to breath. After massive doses of IV diuretics they were able to dry me out enough to be transferred to a Cardiac Hospital in Chandler Az. There they discovered I was pretty close to death and recommend a pacemaker plus antiarrhythmic drugs. I left for home with an ejection Factor of 5%. I did recoup from that and for a couple of years felt back to normal. My ef did get up to the 45% range and life was pretty normal. I enjoyed hiking and camping working around the house etc. But it did not last forever. In 2011 i received my first shock from the pacemaker and my cardiologist at that time recommend me see an EP Cardiologist. He recommended that I needed an Heart ablation to find the reason for my heart going into a bad arrhythmia. So he did find some bad paths and ablated them. Things were better but after a year i was still having arrhythmias more than he liked so we did a second ablation. That one was very successful. Things were good for a while but my heart got worse so in 2015 i had a bad set of arrhythmias about 8 shocks before they got my heart to settle down. After about a week and trying different combinations of drugs we got it better but still I would probably need my ablations. Well in Nov of 2017 my heart started having many arrhythmias and after a couple more ablations it was time to look at a heart transplant. My EP doctor recommended me to Mayo clinic to get evaluated. Well after getting to Mayo my heart got even worse. It got to the point that only IV drugs could control my arrhythmias. Well about the end of December 2017 i was put on the list for a heart. Then a miracle happen on January 4th the Lord provided a heart. So on 5 Jan 2018 the surgeon came in and let me know that he was going to pick up my new heart. With the Awesome Support om My Wife and caregiver plus the Prayers of my Church , Family and Friends here i am 13 months post transplant with a bright future ahead of me. Im already doing some light Hiking and i'm back on the golf course.
Thats it in a nutshell and im more than willing to provide more if you have questions. But basically you hear a lot about afib, which is the uper heart. But mine was the lower heart and when it went into an arrithmia it can kill you in minutes. The drugs i was on became toxic to me so there was no other option except a new heart

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Holy Smokes, danab! You have really been through the mill! Thank God, you have come through it all because it sounds like it was touch and go for some time. And as you say, you are 13 months post transplant with a bright future ahead of you. I wish you all the very best. Enjoy life to the fullest. Keep a healthy lifestyle!

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