Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) - Treatment

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What are the treatments for premature ventricular contractions?

The reasons for treating premature ventricular contractions are:

  1. to relieve symptoms of palpitations;
  2. to treat conditions that cause premature ventricular contractions since many conditions that cause premature ventricular contractions are potentially life threatening; and
  3. to prevent ventricular tachycardia and sudden death.

In healthy individuals without heart disease, premature ventricular contractions need no treatment. For relief of palpitations, one may consider the following measures:

  • stop alcohol and caffeine intake;
  • stop the use of over-the-counter (OTC) nasal decongestants that may contain adrenaline such as medications containing pseudoephedrine (certain weight loss supplements may aggravate premature ventricular contractions and should never be used without consulting with one's physician);
  • stop drug abuse such as amphetamines, cocaine; and
  • stop cigarette smoking.

Conditions that can cause premature ventricular contractions can also be potentiality life-threatening. These conditions are often treated in hospital-monitored beds. Monitored beds are beds (or rooms) that are equipped to record the patients' heart rhythm continuously. Patients are also given intravenous medications. These conditions are:

  • low potassium or magnesium levels (hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia) -- potassium and magnesium can be given intravenously;
  • digoxin and aminophylline toxicity -- medications can be given to counteract drug toxicity;
  • acute heart attack -- medications and procedures (coronary angiogram and PTCA) are performed urgently to open blocked coronary arteries to restore blood supply to the heart muscle; and
  • low blood oxygen levels (hypoxia) -- oxygen can be given nasally and medications can be given to treat the underlying lung diseases.

Antiarrhythmia medications

Antiarrhythmia medications are used to control premature ventricular contractions with the goal of preventing ventricular tachycardias, ventricular fibrillations, and sudden death. Examples of antiarrhythmia medications include beta-blockers amiodarone (Cordarone) and several others. Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence that suppressing premature ventricular contractions with antiarrhythmic medications prevents ventricular tachycardias, ventricular fibrillations, and sudden death.

Some antiarrhythmia medications actually can cause abnormal heart rhythms. Thus antiarrhythmic medications are only prescribed cautiously in patients at high risk of developing ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, and usually initially in the hospital setting. This does not apply to beta-blockers, which are prescribed to many heart patients for many reasons, and not only do not accelerate arrhythmias, but usually decrease premature ventricular contractions. In many patients with premature ventricular contractions and significant underlying cardiac disease, or with severe symptoms, electrophysiology testing (EP) may be recommended. This is a test performed with catheters to see if a patient is at risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias, which are treated with either medications or sometimes tiny implantable defibrillators.

Return to Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs, PVC)

See what others are saying

Comment from: straight arrow, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 07

I have had PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) and PACs (premature atrial contractions) for about 30 years. They would only occur infrequently at first but progressed to the point I was taken to the emergency room from work, as I was having 20 plus a minute. My heart checked out okay and they gave me metoprolol which helped some. They came and went and I went to cardiologists and hospitals several times. By chance I had a bout of sciatic pain and went to a chiropractor. He asked if I had any other problems that he could help me with and I told him about the PVCs. He consulted a book and it said to adjust the atlas and T2 vertebrae for heart palpitations. After about three weeks they were greatly reduced and after three months the cardiologist said I could quit the medication and see if they came back. I am happy to say that I only have a couple a day now. Worth a try for anyone who suffers with this stuff.

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Comment from: PVC sufferer, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I was diagnosed with benign premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) over a year ago. My cardiologist didn't want to place me on a beta blocker as my heart rate and blood pressure are very low. After much research online and elsewhere (and I am a cardiac nurse with many years of experience to start with) I started taking GABA 750 mg every morning and L-Theanine 100 mg with it. I use no caffeine, herb tea only. I do a lot of things that were suggested online by other posters and everything my doctor and the other cardiologist and gastroenterologist I work with suggested. It's worked! I am PVC free. I was having about 6 to 10 PVCs a minute to now maybe one or two an hour if any. I swear by the GABA and L-Theanine. The other things I do probably help some but the GABA made the biggest impact.

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