What is Premature Ventricular Contraction?

Filed Under: Arrhythmia, Heart Health

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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