Patient Comments: Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) - Symptoms

Please describe the symptoms of your premature ventricular contractions.

Comment from: StuartB, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 17

I have experienced what I know now to be PVCs since around the age of 15. I am now approaching 53. These have never affected me even during extreme physical exercise (I was once near Olympic selection in pentathlon). I even experienced one during the Bruce Protocol when I tried to attain the maximum speed on the maximum incline at age 46. Recently, during stressful periods at work, I can go for two or three weeks experiencing PVCs at a frequency of 2 per minute. My escape involves vigorous exercise or de-stressing by not going to work or both. My PVCs have once caused sleep time syncope. Now I know what stresses me and what to avoid I feel a little more in control but never escape them entirely.

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Comment from: H2o13, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

My premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) began 45 years ago when I was only 12. It would never happen while the doctor was listening to my heart so he told my parents I was imagining it. I learned to live with it. What a relief it was years later when a Holter monitor test finally proved I wasn't imagining it. I was put on a beta-blocker, 25 mg per day, which controlled them for over 20 years. About 6 months ago, they returned with a vengeance and my doctor increased the dosage to 100 mg per day. I also cut out all caffeine. That wiped them out again until about 3 weeks ago. Other tests and my cardiologist assure me my heart is healthy and that I shouldn't worry. I've noticed that they get much worse if my stomach is very full or if I'm bending over for an extended period of time, i.e., cleaning the bathtub. They're also aggravated by cold medicine. It helps to know many others have dealt with this for many years and are still alive. That's the fear, and feeling like you're about to die when the PVCs hit. I've learned to stay calm when it happens. Being afraid makes them worse for me. There's no arguing that PVCs are very frightening and it can be hard to stay calm, but if you can do so, it does help.

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Comment from: Derek, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 17

I first noticed my PVCs about 7 years ago. I literally thought I was having a heart attack because I had never experienced such a thing before. After a trip to the ER, the doctor told me there was nothing to worry about; however, he did recommend that I change my diet, stress load, etc. I made immediate changes, going from 223 lbs down to 180 lbs through proper diet and exercise. Unfortunately, the PVC's never went away. I experience them frequently; sometimes up to 10 per minute. Although I am hardly aware of them during the course of the day, they often haunt me at night, preventing me from falling asleep immediately. Although I find them to be irritating, I know they're not harmful, which provides some relief.

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Comment from: 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: September 17

I am 42 years old, in good shape, with normal heart pressure. Four months ago, I underwent examination for sleep apnea that revealed ongoing allergies; treatment of the allergies relieved those symptoms of sleep apnea. After about a month of taking over-the-counter allergy medications, I began to experience all the symptoms of PVC described by others on this list. Like others, I have less trouble when exercising and more when I am resting or lying down. I have cut out the medications and sugar (which seemed to be the worst offender), and cut way back on caffeine. The symptoms have persisted, and an irregular heart now affects my sleeping more than the allergy ever did. What I find most disturbing is the possibility that the allergy medication (loratadine) seems to have triggered the PVC.

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Comment from: Shauna, 25-34 Female Published: September 03

I am a 28-year-old female that is healthy and found out about my heart condition when I was 17. This past year my condition has worsened. I have had every test done out there, so I know what that is like. I had the Holter Monitor done about a month ago and they found out that I had 8,690 PVCs within a 24-hour period. That is beyond severe. I am always tired, always sick, feel like I can't breathe very well and my chest feels like it's going to explode sometimes. Very scary! I haven't been to a cardiologist in a long time, but my doctor is finally making me go again to get this checked out.

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Comment from: 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 27

I am 26 and have been experiencing PVCs for three years. I quit caffeine at the beginning of 2008, which helped, but heavy exercise seems to make it a bit stronger. I am a cyclist and ride at least 10 hours a week. I also find that they are the worst after two days of full rest after a hard block of workouts. Stress, sugar spikes, and some beer and most wine will also make it worse. My PVCs are generally marked by a flutter, then a long pause (and I mean long because my resting pulse is generally 46), then a two- to-three times stronger beat than normal, and then finally back to normal beating. I find they mostly happen at night, and on the nights I have them, they are about two- to-three minutes apart.

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Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) - Causes Question: What was the cause of your premature ventricular contractions?
Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) - Experience Question: Have you ever experienced PVCs? Please describe your experience.
Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) - Treatment Question: What treatments or lifestyle changes did you find effective for your PVCs?

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