What is Premature Ventricular Contraction?

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Arrhythmia
Last Reviewed 02/16/2014

What should you do if you have premature ventricular contraction? Cardiologist Stephen Sinatra explains when to worry about this common problem.

 

What is Premature Ventricular Contraction? Transcript

Dr. Sinatra: E-letter subscriber. Dr. Sinatra, I was told I have PVC's (premature ventricular contractions). Now, I'm scared stiff. What should I do?

Well listen, I have PVC's, too. In fact, when I was in medical school, I think about 10 percent of us had PVC's and I'll tell you why. Because when we were studying cardiology in medical school, a lot of us were under stress; you know, we were taking exams all the time. We were taking our pulses and we noticed a blip or a skip. Then we went back to the literature and we found out that about 7 percent of medical students, that if they did hold their monitors onto them, real healthy medical students, had skipped heartbeats.

So, lots of people have PVC's. I mean, PVC's in a normal heart, I don't even worry about. However, if you have PVC's and you have a scar on your heart from a previous heart attack or if you're diabetic and you have arterial sclerosis, you have a lot of inflammation in the heart or if you have, let's say, a dilated heart from overzealous use of alcohol or previous myocarditis; any of these situations where you have a diseased muscle in the heart with PVC's, well, then I worry about that, because in a diseased heart, PVC's carry a lot more morbidity. However, in a healthy heart, I don't even worry about them.

So, to answer your question, if you're feeling good and you're healthy and your echocardiogram is normal, don't worry about it. PVC's are okay.

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