Are you suffering from PVC's or an ectopic heartbeat?

Have you ever felt like your heart skipped a beat? Or perhaps that your heart actually beat an extra beat? Whether it was an isolated incident or has become a regular occurrence, PVC's (premature ventricular contractions -- also know as ventricular premature beat (VPB), ectopic heartbeat, or extrasystole) can be extremely unsettling and downright scary for those who suffer from them.

The good news is that PVC's are almost always harmless. Nevertheless they tend to feel dangerous to those who have them and it can be hard to cope with the cycle of fear, which leads to stress and anxiety, which often then leads to more PVC's.

So while this group may not be a cure for PVC's, I hope that it will be a useful tool for educating each other and learning to cope with this sometimes extremely uncomfortable heart arrythmia.

Friday, July 31, 2009

PVC's: Another Kind Of "Night Terror"

A little over a year ago my PVC's started to bother me more at night than ever before. Unfortunately, this trend has not changed and I continue to struggle with sleepless nights because of them. It's not every night, and sometimes I can get lucky and go for weeks without a sleepless night. But every now and again I get a really bad bout of them and may have several bad nights in a row. The PVC's are bad during the day as well, but more manageable. At night, probably because I'm lying still and otherwise relaxed, they are much more bothersome. They are also different, as I get more of a sensation of my heart stopping. The pause between the extra beats seems longer and I sometimes literally jump up in bed as a natural reflex response to feeling like I'm dying right there on the spot, not to mention the jolts from the PVC's themselves.

Last night was another bad night. I decided to not just stay in bed and get more frustrated, so I got up, had a snack, read for a bit, even though I was exhausted. Still, though, sleep was elusive until about 4 am. I had to get up before 6 am for work, but was so exhausted that I had to call in sick.

I know this latest episode will pass. They always do. But it's tough physically and mentally when my sleep is cut short. And of course, fatigue only leads to more PVC's and it can make it even more difficult to get out of this round of them.

Can anyone relate? Any tips?

72 comments:

Kaylor Kastle said...

That sounds like my typical night, every night. You are not alone, but I have no good advice because if I did, I suppose I wouldn't be here writing that I can relate. ;o)

aleshia said...

hi my name is aleshia and i am 22 yrs of age i started having PVC during my pregnancy they got worser as the pregnancy progress i have wore holter monitors i had have 2 echocardiagrams done and i have had a stress test done aswell. My OB assured me that they would go away but they never had i am thinking maybe its from my horomones being imbalanced from pregnancy but i dont know i dont drink smoke and i try to eat healthy. I excercise regular and i dont really get them.I maybe feel like 1 or 2 throughout the whole day. I was wondering is there any vitamins or herbs to take to controll them my cardiologist advice me that if i was planning to have more kids which i am that i should not take the beta blockers so i dont know what to do i just wish there was something out there that can controll them i am to young to be going through this so if there is anyone with advice i would really love to hear

thanks,aleshia

Claudia said...

Hi Aleshia!

Sorry to hear that you've been suffering from PVC's. It seems that it's not uncommon for PVC's to start (or worsen) during pregnancy. I'm actually surprised that your doctor told you they would go away. It's hard to say, I guess, but it seems that a lot of people who get them never get rid of them completely. Hopefully they won't get any worse than the occasional one that you're feeling now.

I think your cardiologist gave you sound advice. I would avoid the beta blockers for as long as possible. Not to make light of your PVC's, since I know that even just one is scary enough, but if you're only having a few each day, then in my opinion the risks of beta blockers far outweigh the benefit. It's once you start having them constantly, every day, that one can perhaps start seriously considering them. I did, but opted not to use them. I get hundreds every day, but am able to function OK most days.

I'm not really sure of any herbs that would help PVC's, but many report an improvement by taking a magnesium supplement. Go to your local pharmacy, pick up a bottle of magnesium vitamins, take the suggested dose for a few weeks and see if you notice any difference. Personally, I experience no benefit, but some do. Another thing you may want to do, if you haven't already, is get a routine blood test to check your potassium levels and thyroid hormones. Either one of those can cause PVC's. Since you are only having one or two a day, your levels are probably OK. But it may be worth looking into.

ALESHIA said...

Thanks claudia for the advice i have did some research and i ran across a tea called lemon balm tea they said that it helped calm palps down so i went to my local Whole's Food grocery store and found some type of herbal tea similiar to lemon balm its like a calming tea a it really helps me alot i also drink the welches grape juice that helps aswell so maybe try those too im just glad that theres other people suffering with this besides me i hope things gets better for all of us
GOD BLESS,ALESHIA

runman said...

Hi Claudia. I haven't posted in a while. Just checking to see hou you're doing. My pvcs are, as usual, coming and going. Right now it's coming a lot during my cool down period after a run. Middle of the night too. Days seem to be ok but of course this can all change at any moment. Frustrating. Take care

Claudia said...

Hey Don, not doing too bad. Having them all the time still, but they've been fairly mild. At night I get a few jolts or heart-stopping sensations that disturb me as I'm drifting to sleep, but I haven't had any multiple sleepless nights in a while. Here's hoping it lasts. :) I've been using my eliptical almost daily, as well as lifting some weights, and have been OK with that.

lindz said...

I also tend to get mine at night... which is why I'm on here and not sleeping :( Its so annoying. That really sucks that they can get worse during pregnancy since I am hoping to have a baby soon! (after I get my cardiologist approval). The only thing that helps me at night is to hug a pillow - I joke that is cushions the blow. Its so hard to sleep when your whole body is jolting up and down with every beat. I do think that mine are bad tonight (and the last three nights) because I have been really lazy on the treadmill. Working out regularly does seem to help, even if its just speed walking for a few miles.

Anonymous said...

Hi Claudia,

I get PVCs during the day but usually at night starting at 9:00.

I sleep sitting upright as much as I can on my right side. That seems to help.

Yesterday I had an entire day PVC FREE. (They started Oct 1st suddenly and intensely. I have thousands a day.)

If there has been anything I've done that has helped, I think it's taking 150mg a day of CoQ10. It can be purchased at www.vrp.com.

(I do not take any beta blockers or other heart meds.)

Tawny, RN

Claudia said...

That's great news, Tawny. How many PVC-free or almost-free days have you had now?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, just the one day.

I'm going to figure out what works and what doesn't and share it here.

My father-in-law took Hawthrone supplements for his heart condition and I think it extended his life. They are taken for heart irregularity but shouldn't be used by people with low blood pressure, which I have.

Hawthorne should not be taken with other heart medications without a cardiologist's approval, either.

Tawny, RN

Claudia said...

Would you say that they've decreased, or are they as frequent as they were before?

Tammy said...

Hello, My name is Tammy and I am 43 years old. I have been having pvcs for 5 years. They have gotten much worse the past few months but I have been under alot of stress this year. I have had all the tests - EKGS, echos, treadmill test, all this year and they say they are benign. BUT I still get scared by them. How do you move past that? I need to start exercising as they said it will help but I am scared to! How do I get past that too??? Any advice would be great! Thanks.

runman said...

Hi Tammy - I've posted several times over the past few months-this is a GREAT site (thanks Claudia)...don't suppose you've read some of my past comments but hope this helps you some - I'm 63 and have had pvcs/pacs since I was about 20! I've had every test over and over but still get them. As with you and all of us, our doctors tell us they are benign (so easy for them to say)...I've tried everything - no caffine, some caffine, coq10, magnesium, chocolate, no chocolate, etc....there is NO rhyme or reason to them...they come and go. Do I still stress about them - sure I do but I try VERY hard to tell myself that they will not harm me...sometimes I'm good at that and other times i'm not. As far as exercising is concerned - do it!. You'll feel better - I run 40-50 miles a week...sometimes I get skips when I run, sometimes I don't - sometimes I get them after I run - sometimes I don't - sometimes I don't get them at all! It's all crazy but I just try to go on about my business....the exercise WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER because in some subconscious way it tells us that if there was something wrong with our hearts, we wouldn't be able to exercise so much - so in that sense it's reassurring to exercise....hope this helps and hang in there.....take care

Claudia said...

Hi Tammy! Welcome to the group. I echo Runman's advice. I can also add that you don't have to expect to be able to go out running right now while you're struggling with anxiety. Start off by going for brisk walks. (Incidentally, I frequently get a lot of PVC's while walking briskly, especially uphill, but fewer during running. Go figure.) You can also try biking, or an eliptical machine can also be good. The confidence will gradually come, but if you're feeling that you're having a bad day, allow yourself to be content with a walk. On good days, try to work up to a higher heart rate. If you get a PVC here or there, don't worry about it. If they are frequent, cool down and try your best to stay calm. You're not in any danger, but I know first-hand how difficult it is to simply "run through" multiple, forceful PVC's.

Have you tried listening to music while exercising? This can help distract your mind and reduce anxiety.

Tammy said...

Hi runman, thank you for your advice. I did get on the treadmill yesterday but today I haven't been feeling well so I skipped it but at least I got one in yesterday!! Thank you also for sharing some of your story. It helps. Tammy

Tammy said...

Hi Claudia, thank you too for your advice. I do love listening to music, I will have to try that as a distraction. How long have you been dealing with these lovely things?? I really am hoping one day they just go away and forget to come back!!! Take care, Tammy

Claudia said...

Hey Tammy, I've had them since I was about 15-16 and I'm now 31. They've really increased in frequency and intensity the past couple of years, for no reason that I can pinpoint. It can be really tough sometimes, but I'm managing OK so far without any beta blockers.

Tammy said...

Hi Claudia,

I started having them at the age of 38. I, also, do not want to take a beta blocker but would prefer to manage them without. I do take extra magnesium but I honestly don't think it is making a difference. Like you said, they come without rhyme or reason, although I do seem to get more if I am fighting a sickness.

Hope you have a pvc free day! God bless. Tammy

Anonymous said...

Mag supplements may not work only because it isn't easily absorbed in most forms it is sold in, like the Oxide version.

I've started using the Magnesium oil that is absorbed through the skin. The foot soak is the way to go.
http://www.magnesiumdirect.com/products.aspx?gclid=CJbI4s--jZ4CFRdc2godfGuang

Can't tell if it's working but they say it can take weeks for the Mag to get into the cells.

Tawny, RN

Also, Claudia, thanks for asking, my PVCs continue in frequency but not as intense.

Tammy said...

Hi Tawny,

I will look into the magnisium oil - I haven't heard of that one. Thanks for the advice about it. I will have to let you know how it goes.

I am glad I found this support forum. I hope we all are able to find some relief!

Tammy said...

Hi Tawny, I forgot to ask you. As many as you have had, how do you deal with them? Are you able to just ignore them or they bother you at all?

Sometimes I can ignore them and sometimes they are very life interupting!

How about everyone else? Anything that you do that is able to help you through them? Thanks!

runman said...

Hi Tammy....just wanted to mention that I agree with Claudia. Although exercise is important and should make you feel better, you don't necessarily want to go out and run hard and push yourself too much (not because of the pvcs but because you want to work up to it)...the treadmill walking is great. Wish I could help you regarding your last post about "what do we do when we get these things," but to be perfectly honest, if they didn't bother me at all then obviously, like the rest of us, we wouldn't be on this blog...but I think a blog like this is the one way most of us do cope. It makes us realize that we are not alone....there are probably millions of us "sufferrers" out there. For me, just reading through these comments helps me more than any doctor. Hope that helps and hope you have a great week. Again, thanks Claudia for this wonderful site

Tammy said...

Hi runman, thank you for your input!! You are right, of course, we all struggle with them or we wouldn't be reaching out to others. And I too am so thankful for this site. It helps to know we are not alone and you are right also in that the drs often are not much comfort. Hope you have a wonderful evening!!! Tammy

Anonymous said...

Tammy,

It is hard to deal with them. They can be just unbearable. Some nights I can't sleep. I can't do simple activities.

But PVCs come in various intensities, some are blips, others are that skip, THUNK, rapid beats and then quiver, quiver thing. Usually, I get the blips so I can stand those.

I forget to mention about the Magnesium. It apparently takes months to a year for it to get into the cells.

Except for the kind that is absorbed by the skin I mentioned above. That only takes 6 weeks.

Let us know what happens and I will do the same.

Tawny, RN

Tammy said...

Hi Tawny,

I did look into the magnesium oil a little bit online. I'm going to do some more research on it before purchasing. Let me know how you do with it. I see an alternative med. dr. so I will ask her about it too. She is pretty good about being up to date with stuff.

I have had a few bouts of pvc's today but they haven't been too bad. Hopefully they will stay at bay for awhile! Take care, Tammy

Anonymous said...

My heart seems to be calming down but we'll see...

I like the Derma Mag because oral Mag supplements make my IBS go haywire.

I've also started taking CardioRhythm, a Mag supplement with Taurine designed just for heart irregularity.

It is sold at www.vrp.com and no, I don't work for the company. LOL

Tawny, RN

K.T said...

Claudia hi,

How are you? Silly me, my heart wasn't pausing like I had mentioned. I had a look over my results again and the cardiologist said 5 PAUSES ARE ARTAFECTS meaning to do with the holter recorder and not my heart. Here I was thinking that my heart stopped for 8.1 seconds. i guess 319 ectopics isn't that serious considering other get 1000's. I didn't feel any of the 319 that the holter picked up. Thank god, I havent felt any in a week or more. I know every few weeks I get a few in a row for a few days. Thanks again for a great blog. Take care

Anonymous said...

hi I just come across this fantastic group,in search of some answers reagarding pvcs.I am 12 weeks pregnant with my second child & for the last week been getting pvcs, hundreds of them daily,they seem to be worse of a night however still persistant during the day.Its the first time I have experienced them and am quite unsettled by them,I have been to the doctors,had bloods ect & have been told there quite common during pregnancy & not to worry..which is easier said than done at the moment im afraid.

Tammy said...

Hello, I have had a rough few days!! Does anyone else notice an increase in pvcs when fighting sickness or having acid reflux??

Claudia said...

I think that's typical, Tammy. It's been a while since I've had a really bad cold, but I seem to remember last year when I had the flu, bad cough and fever, that my PVC's were quite frequent. I don't think they were very strong, though. They were like "weak" PVC's that didn't cause too much discomfort. I don't really suffer from acid reflux, but I have noticed that a really big meal can bring them on.

Claudia said...

Anonymous, a lot of women seem to report developing PVC's during pregnancy. Hopefully yours will disappear after your baby is born, but don't be too distraught if they don't. Some seem to find it really hard to get rid of them. I can only assume that in the case of pregnancy and PVC's, it's a hormonal issue.

Tammy said...

Hi Claudia, thanks for your response. I know they can be so life interupting! I am really trying to not be moved by them as I have had so many tests run on my heart and seen 2 heart drs., one which is one of the leading heart drs. in Indianapolis. I think when I can get to the point where I can ignore them and just go about doing things it will be a crossover time for me. Most of the time now, when I have them, I just sit on the couch until they go away but as soon as I get up and walk around they are there again. It then brings on anxiety, which I don't need as I already have been battling with that! Oh well, learning to let go and know that I am not in control of everything is a process!! :)

Paul Sutton said...

Hi Claudia,

Just came across your site!

I've suffered with pvcs for about 20 years off and on now. Twenty years ago i started to suffer from panic attacks which doctors told me was in my head, however what was actually happening was i was getting irregular heartbeats during these eppisodes which made them worse...it was horrible and a vicious circle. At the time was convinced i had something wrong with my heart (this was before days of internet!)...i found it difficult to go on planes etc just in case it started up.
Eventually as years passed they faded away to the point where i actually forgot about them! Then 10 years ago they started again..out of no where and again i started to suffer from panic attacks..i eventually went to the doctor who told me they were stress related and gave me Verpamill. i didnt take these as i was so relieved to hear there wasnt anything wrong, within about a month they virtually went.
..And now 10 years later they have reared their head again!...this time they seem different though...i dont feel so stressed and they are happening when i fell relaxed which seems far worse! i dont have panic attacks at all but its just horrible. Im probably getting about several hundred a day which is bad enough...i really do feel for these people that get thousands.

Claudia said...

Hey Paul, welcome to the group! I've had PVC's for about 16 years, but they've been much more intense the past couple of years.

Hope you read through all the comments and are able to find some reassurance. You're certainly not alone!! :)

Cindy S said...

I have been having pvcs and pacs for years. They got bad a few years ago but I pretty much ignored them and went on with my life and they went away. They started up again in August and have gotten to be a daily occurence. And just about every night I go into bigemeny. I have also had episodes of SVT and one of atrial fib that landed me in the hospital in Sept. Echo and stress test were fine. I am afaid to go anywhere, do anything or be alone. These things have taken over my life it seems. I have been to the ER 5 times and hospitalized once in the last 4 months. I am tired of this! It has started my panic attacks back up again too which doesn't help. I am trying to exercise, went to the gym 3 times last week. Almost panicked on the treadmill when my heart rate went up but assured myself it was a normal thing and I didn't jump off and go panic, which was good. But I hate these things and I hate what I allow it to do to me. I have to find a way to stop it! Sorry for the long post but I guess I needed to get this out.

Claudia said...

Hi Cindy,

I feel your pain. These things can really take over your life and it's really hard sometimes to stay mentally positive.

Did your doctors ever suggest a beta blocker or any medications to control them if you are struggling with them that much? It may be something to consider.

Tammy said...

Cindy S., I can so relate to you! I just finished another holter monitor on Friday as over the last few months the pvcs have gotten very frequent, especially in the morning and evenings. I, too, have been having them as frequently as every other beat to every 4th beat and then it will change up. I have had a stress and echo and more EKG's than I can count. I even got a second opinion. Hang in there!! Are you possibly in your late 30 to 40's? I ask as it can be a strong symptom of perimenopause and I think that is what is happening in my case. It has also disrupted my life where I don't go anywhere unless it is the drs., hospital or my grandmas. I went into Walgreens the other day and that was a major event for me! I want my life back too! God bless. Tammy

Cindy S said...

I am past the menopause, I am 55. These things started getting bad in my late 30s and I know a lot of it was hormonal. I was hoping it would get better but it hasn't. I am currently taking a relatively new beta blocker, bystolic. It definitely helps, god forbid what it would be like if I wasn't taking it. I had taken atenolol for 3 years previously and it was weird, it's like it just quit working. When I got out of the hospital dr. put me on sotolol and I didn't do well on it so he told me to go back to atenolol. Might as well have been taking nothing.

Anonymous said...

Hi all...please overlook my typing but I to am so sick of these pvcs they started when I was around 30( 49 now )I had a bad episode after weedeating 1 day and went to the E.R. same story (ekg /heart monitor/ stress test the works ) DR.. told me to lay off caffine and smoking....this helped out alot and would only have 1 once in a bluemoon ...then about a year and a half ago out of nowhere BAM !!! now all the time Im talking every waking moment and if I wake up in the middle of the night, cant hardly get back to sleep....I was having them this way for 3 weeks at a time and I would get about a 10 day period without them but now I dont even get that. I also suffer from panic attacks and take xanax,toprol,citalopram and crestor.now Ive stop taking the citalopram because I read somewhere it caused irr. heartbeats the only thing Ive noticed about that is I dont seem to get the real hard beat when my heart stops and starts back again...but they are ruining my life to the point were I get mad at little nothings that go on while having an episode..I love my job but I dont know how long I can hang in there...I miss a lot of work because of them , my after work life sucks because Im afraid to go anywhere far from my house or the local hospital..I have a friend at work that also has panic attacks and has just started having pvcs every now and then....so now im wondering is this common with panic attacks (pvc).....he and I have talked some and the only thing we could find in common was we both have strong sex drives...I dont know if this has anything to do with one or the other but it sure seems weird....all I know is for sure at this point is Im so sick of worrying about all this and feel so sorry for anyone else who goes thu this....if nothing else it feels good just to get some of this off of me...and ive had about a 100 or so pvcs while writing this.... a big thanks to Claudia for the site

Cindy S said...

One thing I have found for sure, the more you stress, the worse the pvcs get. It is a vicous circle. I have been doing the same thing for 4 months. I have been in the hospital and to the er 5 times in that time period. I have forced myself to go to the YMCA and exercise and that really does seem to help...don't know if it's physical or emotional but whatever, I feel better when I go.

Anonymous said...

Out of the blue, I had thousands of PVC/PACs a day plus runs of PST or atrial tachycardia. My heart went haywire.

Since I have been on 400-600 mg Magnesium supplement made with Taurine my heart has calmed way down. PVCs cut down 60% and I have nights with NO PVCs. (I take no heart meds.)

I think Mag with Taurine supplements are what to take when one has PVC, PAC, PST, etc. They are giving me my life back.

Warning: mag supplements act like a laxative so you have to compensate for that.

Tawny, RN

Matthew Moore said...

This is my first time on the site and I'm sooooo happy i searched for a support group. i had no idean what i was up against or what it was. its very scary but i feel better knowing there are many others. I wanted to tell Kaylor and other that it may or may not work for you but i meditate with relaxed breathing before i go to bed and it seems to help especially when my episodes are stronger.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for you all, but it is nice to know that I am not alone. I am 27 and have been fighting this for almost 2 years. My PAC's and PVC's get so bad it takes my breath away. They are driving me AND my husband crazy because I am always complaining about them. i have been taking Cardizem for 1 month after my 1st and hopefully last episode of SVT with a rate of 250. I am tachycardic all the time anyway in the low 100's and went to the doc yesterday for a follow up and he wants to switch my med to a beta blocker- Metoprolol. I am scared to switch because I have read that it has bad side effects and my blood pressure is low anyway. I am stuck in a cycle of these stupid PAC's and PVC's. I just want to feel "Normal" again. They are ruining my life. Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Steve, from Australia. I've been having PVC's on and off over several years but they have really started up in a big way in the last month or two. Now, since i started the liver cleansing diet a week ago, they have gone through the roof. Coincidence? Anyway, i don't get any faintness or pain so i assume they are benign and i am making a conscious effort to just get on with life and work around them until i see the cardiologist later this month. I used to panic when i had them, now they are just annoying. Nice to know i'm not alone in my suffering. Hang in there everyone. Cheers for now.

Trish said...

Hi everyone, my name is Trish. I'm 25 years old and I started getting PVCs during my first pregnancy 3 years ago. At first they were few and far between, but slowly over time and especially in the past few months they have increased dramatically in frequency (a few hundred a day.)I am finding it so hard to accept that they are benign because of how horrible they feel, and they have literally turned me into a nervous wreck! I have a 2 1'2 year old and an 8 month old and I'm not enjoying life with them because of my constant worry that something is wrong with my heart. I would love to know exactly why all of a sudden we would start getting these awful things? Were we getting them before and just not noticed? So many questions. I really want to have another baby but am scared to because I'm afraid of more PVCs and it turning into something dangerous. I have also suffered from anxiety for 10 years and have been very anxious and stressed (with 2 little kids)so I'm thinking that anxiety could have a lot to do with the increase in my PVCs. I would love to know how many people out there who developed PVCs already had an anxiety or panic disorder? There seems to be a very strong connection between the two. Thanks!

Claudia said...

Hi Trish, your story is very common. Many women find that pregnancy was the trigger for their PVC's, which seems to indicate a possible hormonal connection. But the truth is that most people never find out why or how they started gettting PVC's and many find that they stick around even after the initial trigger (pregnancy, stress, etc.) has passed. I think that many people suffer from anxiety, but I don't think that anxiety alone is the cause. It certainly aggravates it and can bring on a bad episode, but it's not likely the sole cause. So you can look at it this way: your anxious personality didn't cause your PVC's, but it can certainly make them worse.

If it's any consolation, somewhere around half of the adult population will have PVC's at one time or another during their life, but most either don't notice it or have only very few of them. So you're not alone and PVC's are almost always benign.

I can recommend a few things:

1.) Read all through this blog, the comments from people. You'll be able to relate to much of it and realize you're not alone. If you're on Facebook, you can join the group there and connect with more sufferers (see link on the sidebar).

2.) If you haven't already had a good check-up and been hooked up to a Holter monitor for a couple of days so that a doctor can catch your PVC's "in action" and give you a definite diagnosis, it would be a good idea to do so. Preferably with a cardiologist who can do an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) in order to rule out any possibly structural problems (it's very unlikely that there are any). Getting a clean bill of health will help put your mind at ease and worry less about them.

3.) I can't stress this enough, but focus on eliminating your anxiety issues instead of the PVC's. Since PVC's can be so difficult to get rid of, the best you can do is tackle your anxiety (which you can control), which will help you manage the fear of PVC's better. I recommend the Linden Method to everyone because it's something I've tried myself and benefitted from greatly (see link on the sidebar).

Trish said...

Thanks for your quick reply Claudia!

I had an echocardiogram done in 2007 for unexplained chest pain that I get. At this stage I wasn't having PVCs. It was normal. When the palps started getting pretty regular a few months ago I had a stress test (negative) and a 24 hour holter monitor which showed 334 PVCs with 24 couplets (two in a row)a run of Bigemi, and a run of Trigemy! This freaked me out completely but the doctor wasn't concerned! I have such a hard time believing that it is normal for the heart to start going crazy like this all of a sudden for no reason. I am so worried that they have missed something with my tests! I also have a constant feeling of pressure in my chest (anxiety?) and I feel like my heart is up in my throat most of the time. It's a dreadful feeling to say the least..

runman said...

Hi trish. I've had these things for over 40 years. They do and can come on suddenly and just as quickly go away. As Claudia said, they are almost always benign....but they do drive us crazy. Anxiety is, without doubt, a causal factor. Hard as it may be to do, try to ignore them. Keep in mind that us "older" people have had them most of our lives so I guess they really are benign. Try and relax. My dr. gave me the very lowest dose of Xanax to only use if necessary. I rarely take it but it helps my anxiety just knowing I have them if I need them. That may help you. Claudia, I read your post about body position-I agree with you. Without fail, when I lie down, particularly on my left side I will get them continuously. As soon as I change positions they stop. Just like your situation. I've mentioned once to my cardiologist and he just shrugged it off and gave the usual comment that it's not harmful. Frustrating! Take care and hope all of you have a good valentines weekend.

Michael said...

Hi ... very glad to have found this forum. Recently I have been getting PVCs only at night when falling asleep or half asleep. I don't feel them during the day at all. I am in the process of getting a full work up by my cardiologist.

I had SVT and an ablation done 15 years ago and have been fine since.

However this new "night only" issue is driving me crazy. I have not slept in a week.

Do others have this only when falling asleep too?

Claudia said...

Hi Michael,

I have PVC's all the time, but they are much worse at night. I think part of it is the fact that I notice them more when I'm relaxed, but I'm not quite sure why they can sometimes get extremely intense at night when I'm trying to sleep. I often get sensations of my heart stopping, or quivering, and it jolts me awake as I'm drifting to sleep.

So you're definitely not alone!

ellen.lily said...

I am grateful to have found this support group. I googled something like "I am so sick of these PVCs/PACs!" and this link caught my eye. Many of you, including me have been told that unless there is some kind of underlying heart disease, these things are harmless, and that they may be a result of stress. That is very likely true, but why can't I get migraines, or some type of digestive issues associated with stress, instead of an irregular heartbeat? There has to be more to it than just stress! Otherwise, wouldn't just about everyone on the planet be dealing with this?
Thanks for the vent!
Ellen

KellyA said...

I have mitral valve prolpase, I have known this for about 3 years now. About 3 months ago, I started having extra/skipped heartbeats. I went to my heart doctor last month and he told me they were nothing to worry about. I take metprolol for chest pains but they also help some with the pvcs/pacs. My doctor called them etopic heartbeats and he said they would be okay. They really scare me sometime. I try to ingore them but sometimes it seem's hard to do. When i lay down at night and i start getting them alot i start to panic and it makes them alot worse so i have to sit up for a while until they slow down. The information i have read it really amazing. Thanks for all the information.

KellyA said...

Whenever You have pvcs/pacs do you ever get dizzy or lightheaded? Does anyone have any symptoms at all?

oatmealsweater said...

Hi! I've had the extra beats for about 6 months, heart is structurally fine, in great health otherwise. Very frustrating. I went to an alternative health care practioner the other day who finally gave me some relief. He suggest I try stimulating the vagus nerve via the diaphragm - he showed me how - it's not comfortable - just under the ribcage, while sitting, push firmly inwards and upwards, going in behind the ribcage, while in an exhale position, holding for about 10 seconds. It hasn't made them go away, but has dramatically reduced the number. I was getting them almost every second beat, now I'm having a few every few minutes. Once you have found the right spot, he suggested doing it at least once a day. Mine do come back, in full force, but at least there's a break. I hope this works for someone else too!
(Sorry if I posted this 2x, I've never posted on a blog before!)

Tammy said...

Hello oatmealsweater, thanks for the advice. May help many on here.

KellyA, hang in there girl! I, also like oatmealsweater, have had them as often as every other beat. Not fun! I used to panic but after numerous ER visits, 3 cardiologists, and two EP specialists, I've realized they won't hurt me. They can be very disrupting but I am learning to ignore them as I don't want to meds for them. My blood pressure runs low and my heart is structually sound. I am going to try oalmealsweater's suggestion as I have a hiatal hernia and the suggestion sounds alot like the manuever for repositioning the hiatal hernia. Take care all.

Anonymous said...

PVC's always attack me when I try to go to sleep. I have found that if I lay on my stomach, the perform the Cobra Pose(google yoga cobra pose), then slowly lower myself down onto a balled up pillow, turning my head to the left or right, whichever is comfortable, I find that after a few deep breathing exercises the PVC's gradually lessen and I can get sleepy enough to turn on my side and go to sleep. Alot of people grab a pillow and lie down for a minute during the day. I think what makes the difference is this. As you start to lay down out of the Cobra Pose, as soon as you feel the bottom of your ribcage hit the bed, ball the pillow up so that you more or less stay there in that position. Instead of laying your ribcage down flat, you will feel that its "sitting" up on your bottom set of ribs, then slowly sing comfortably into the pillow, but try to keep your ribcage in that position. I think it opens up your chest cavity to the max, which help with your breathing and helps you relax, but being on your stomach and having the pillow under you makes you feel "protected", many have commented on slouching setting off PVC's and I think we do that as a form of protection, we "pull in" our chest region, often holding our arms across it to protect it during PVC's but actually that seems to make it worse. I hope I explained it well enough, play with it, it helps me. I discovered it out of sheer desperation.

Anonymous said...

WOW!, I found this site because I was having a awful attack and I just did Oatmeals suggestion (stimulating the Vagus nerve under the diaphragm and it knocked the episode out! Symptoms too! I had a headache and heartburn from them they were so bad. I've had a bump or two since, but it was welcome relief! Thanks for the tip!

Alice said...

I tak Atenolol 25mg a day, it is a beta blocker. I have read horrible things about Beta Blockers and am now scared to take it does anyone else take it and can you please tell me the good/bad of it. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I had a lot of similar symptoms, usually at night, but could be triggered by a rush of adrenaline. Limiting caffiene and alcohol seems to help, along with no processed foods. (preservatives!)I had AFIB episodes about 5 times over a 5 year period, and now just have a monthly episode of a skipped beat with 3 fast beats with an anxious feeling that lastes abot 6 hours. Thank you so much for this blog! It helps!

Sue said...

Hi, my name is Sue, I'm in the UK. I have been having missed heart beats and then a great thump as it catches up with itself for many a long year now, and although I've been to the drs many times, they just assure me it's nothing to worry about. I have had a couple of ECGs and am waiting to have a monitor fitted for 24 hrs (though I've been waiting for a few months now....!) My dr has said that if I can exercise without it getting worse, which I can, then there is nothing wrong with my heart. But it's easy to say and not easy to believe when you're trying to get to sleep and can't because these things are happening. I had no idea they were called pvcs until I did some googling - my heart just seems to jump, and I also get the sensation of butterflies in my tummy at the same time. I agree, sometimes your heart seems to be in your throat. I too agree it seems worse at night, but I think that's because in the day I am busy and don't notice it so much. I think it gets worse if I'm out for a meal, and have more than just the one glass of wine. My husband suggests it could be something to do with additives too, so we eat organic food if we can. I have wondered about whether to go for a food allergy test to see if anything specific is triggering them. But it's wonderful to find this support group and realise that we're not alone. Thanks very much!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear PVC sufferers,
After a year of constant PVCs, I am finally free of them, thanks to Magnesium-Taurate and L-Argenine; its been five weeks now! I can’t tell you how relieved I am--I am on cloud-9! I am sharing this (the first time I write on a blog) in case my story can help anyone else with these life-disrupting symptoms.
I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition (hashimoto thyroiditis) after the birth of my first child and from time to time over the past 25 years (I am now 62) would get PVCs, due, I thought, to the hormones (synthroid) I take to treat the hypothryroid condition, which accelerate my metabolism.
Last year, the PVCs increased in intensity and frequency until I was having them all the time. Unusually, they were accompanied by chest pains, so I went to the hospital (I live in Canada) and was admitted. I had a battery of tests during my 6 days in the cardiac care ward and it was determined my heart is structurally sound. The PVCs would only be life-threatening if they were sustained, I was told, at which point I could faint. But basically they are benign.
However, since I was having so many of them, the cardiologist put me on beta-blockers and I had a pacemaker inserted because the beta-blockers made my heart beat too slowly (my normal heart rate is 57 beats per minute, because I am very athletic, and the drug reduced both my heart rate and blood pressure, which made me feel faint (quite ironic)).
In the end, the beta-blockers didn’t work and over a period of a year, I was prescribed different kinds and doses of beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers, none of which suppressed the PVCs. I continued to suffer enormously from the constant and vigourous thumping in my chest that you all know only too well.
Finally, I got some relief when my electrophysiologist noticed from the results of a holter monitor that I never get PVCs when my heart rate is high. Indeed, the only time I felt good was when I was jogging. So he turned my pacemaker up from controlling my heart to beat above 50 bpm to 75 bpm. This helped somewhat, since the PVCs calmed down from being highly erratic and close together, to a pretty steady rhythm of one in 4 or 5 beats. Still, they would wake me in the morning and I had a hard time getting to sleep at night because of them. The electrophysiologist prescribed some new drugs.
Before beginning the new drugs, I continued my own research about this condition and found the article by Eby and Halcomb (2006) in the journal Medical Hypotheses called “Elimination of cardiac arrhythmias using oral taurine with L-arginine with case histories: Hypothesis for nitric oxide stabilization of the sinus node” which suggests that some people with these symptoms have been “cured” by taking Magnesium-Taurate and L-Argenine supplements. In addition, during my research, I found alternative-medicine web sites that suggest treating hypothyroidism with a number of supplements, including magnesium-taurate.
The supplements have worked for me – I rarely get PVCs and when I do, they are mild and don’t last for long. I am on Cloud Nine! I realize now how much I suffered over the past year. I had tried everything to stop the PVCs, from breathing exercises, yoga, ceasing alcohol and caffeine, drinking lots of water, sleeping more, working less, eating a low-carb diet, magnesium oxide and potassium supplements, more exercise, less exercise, CoEnzyme Q10, etc. I am already a vegetarian and eat mostly organic.
I believe that the Magnesium-Taurate and L-argenine are the reason I am now free of PVCs, although I must say at first I was sceptical and thought it was simply a placebo reaction. But now that I have been symptom free for five weeks, starting from the time I began the supplements (too much of a coincidence), I speculate that in my case, the combination of the supplements and the “turning up” my heart rate have “cured” the awful PVCs (so far, so good!!).
My heart (so to speak) goes out to all other PVC-sufferers and I hope you also find a solution.
cloudnine

Anonymous said...

Dear PVC sufferers,
After a year of constant PVCs, I am finally free of them, thanks to Magnesium-Taurate and L-Argenine; its been five weeks now and I am on cloud-9!
From time to time over the past 25 years (I am now 62) I would get PVCs but they would cease when I started getting more rest and was less anxious. Last year, however, the PVCs increased in intensity and frequency until I was having them all the time and they were accompanied by very worrying chest pains.
I was admitted to hospital for 6 days, where I had a battery of tests that found my heart to be structurally sound. But since I was having so many of them, the cardiologist put me on beta-blockers and I had a pacemaker inserted because the beta-blockers made my heart beat too slowly (my normal heart rate is 57 beats per minute, because I am very athletic, and the drug reduced both my heart rate and blood pressure).
In the end, the beta-blockers didn’t work and over a period of a year, I was prescribed different kinds and doses of beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers, none of which suppressed the PVCs. I continued to suffer enormously from the constant and vigourous thumping in my chest that you all know only too well. I don’t drink alcohol, take any caffeine, and I exercise a lot. The only time I didn’t have them was while exercising.
While doing my own research about this condition I found the article by Eby and Halcomb (2006) in the journal Medical Hypotheses called “Elimination of cardiac arrhythmias using oral taurine with L-arginine with case histories” which suggests that some people with these symptoms have been “cured” by taking Magnesium-Taurate and L-Argenine supplements. I tried them right away and they have worked from the third day, which I think is too much of a coincidence. I rarely get PVCs and when I do, they are mild and don’t last for long. I am on Cloud Nine! I believe that the Magnesium-Taurate and L-argenine are the reason I am now free of the debilitating PVCs.
My heart (so to speak) goes out to all other PVC-sufferers and I hope you also find a solution.
cloudnine

Anonymous said...

cloudnine here - sorry about the double posting; I got a message the first one didn't go through because it was too long, so I shortened it and sent it again.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I am 42 year old woman. I was diagnosed a few months ago (May). Scared the hell out of me. Now I exercise every day (45min) no caffine, very healthy diet, and a magnesium and potassium pill each day, along with a multi vitimin. I have also lost 15 pounds. I struggled for the first 3 months then went cold turkey following the above plan - it has been 6 weeks since I have practiced this routine and I have to say for the past month I have not felt any PVC's. I was up to 7000 a day when I did the halter monitor. THe routine is worth it because I HATE those PVC's more than anything. It is hell getting old :)

Anonymous said...

I have been diagnosed with PVCs at the ER 2 months ago, but was just told to reduce stress, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and get some rest. My family doctor said that they were benign too, but said that it would be OK to try magnesium supplements.

I've read about so many different types of magnesium. So for those of you who have found relief with mag supplements, can you please share what type and how much you are taking?

Jane said...

To anonymous on 6 November: try taking magnesium taurate (or taurine) in the amount suggested on the bottle (start with one 475 mg capsule three times a day). Let me know if it works. It did with me, but I added l-argenine and increased the dose of taurine later on because the PVCs returned. But I'm back on Cloudnine

Peter said...

I get them during the day but mild. Hang in there guys. Doctor said they are normal. Had an EKG and cardiac enzymes blood test and were all normal. Said millions of americans have that problem. Wish there was a safe medication they could give us that would have minimal effect. They have medications but some are harsh and dangerous. I still bike and walk and pretty much normal but they are bothersome at times. Not too bad for me but I know some out there have them really bad. Love you guys. Hang in there.

Peter

ptrinidad1@satx.rr.com

Anonymous said...

Hello I'm 37 years old and suffer with these. They started after the birth of my second child four years ago. They come and go for months at a time. I'm interested in anyone who suffers with them and then got pregnant. I want a third child but these things are holding me back.

Anonymous said...

Hey all I'm a 26 year old guy from Australia and I have had the PVCs (or VEBs in Australia) for about 4 years I am taking 100 mg of metroplol daily and it seems to help I've had all the test under the sun and got a full clearance from my cardiologist after spending 2 days in hospital I have some thickening of heart wall but I'm 2 meters tall and doctor said that's normal It's a terrifying feeling and I'm glad I've met people who are in the same boat I've had no side effects with the beta blockers The worst part is that I've become a slave to it I play football three times a week and now have cut it back to 2 days a week out of fear of having an episode I'm certainly not myself I feel like I have them all the time but its probably all in my head!! I sometimes get a run of them and I am just waiting for me to hit the floor Anyway its just reassuring to know people out there have the same dramas Thanks for posting your stories

Pam said...

I started having PVCs after the birth of my second child back in 1978 and have continued to have them ever since. I was 27 then and am 62 now. So be prepared to have these nasty things for a long time! But also be aware that, if tests prove them benign, which they usually are, you have to try to control your anxiety over them. And I am so thankful for the advice about magnesium and other supplements that have helped people. I plan to try them. I am on Bystolic 5 mg, which I was put on after being sent to the hospital with two months worth of these PVCs, up to ten per minute. I was worn out. The Bystolic, a beta blocker/BP med, seemed like a miracle cure to me...at least for a few weeks. Now the PVC's are back, but not too frequently. I plan to see my cardiologist this week and will run by her the suggestions of others on this blog about magnesium, etc. I hate the thought of increasing the Bystolic, as it does make you tired. Also, I have to lean on the Lord (I am a Christian) with this condition and remember the Scripture that says "Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you." And also, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13. He was with me through breast cancer 13 years ago, and I know He will be with me as I seek His help with this problem for my remaining years. God bless all of you fellow PVC endurers!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys:) Ive been suffering from pvcs for years. However recently they've been acting up like crazy when I go for brisk walks..seems like its when my pulse is in the 100 ish range. IT IS SO UNCOMFORTABLE. Thank god they do completely dissappear when I run and stuff like that...anyone here have experience with the same thing?

motherofthenubianprincess said...

Hello all. Came across this blog while looking up a med that the docs want me to try for what they think is PVCs, just starting the work-up. We'll see how it goes. These things are annoying! :-)
Robin