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How do we know whether PVCs are benign or due to underlying condition or worrisome?
I was recently diagnosed with having PVCs by a ER doctor. She didn't seem too concerned about them...like it wasn't a big deal. But I'm only 35 years old and they went from happening once a day/every couple days to dozens of times per day. Literally overnight.
Rewind back to Decemer of last year. I kept ending up in the ER for a really fast heartbeat out of nowhere and high blood pressure. Ever since one REALLY scary incident where my heart went into a super fast "lethal" rhythm, I've been very aware of every heartbeat. They put me on 2 meds...One blood pressure meds (Amlodopine) and another to slow my heart rhythm (Metroprolol). Since then, my resting HR has been scary low (40s and 50s). Just yesterday, out of nowhere, I started getting these jolts in my heart where an extra beat is added or it shivers and jolts real strongly. And they happen over and over again every few minutes.
I've had numerous EKGs done, been hooked to a heart monitor while in the ER, had an echo done while admitted for sepsis and tons of blood work done. Nothing substantial is ever found. I'm waiting for yet ANOTHER echo result that should be coming back soon but I'm sure that will be the same.
If there was something serious wrong, wouldn't one of these tests show them? Or are they just not looking hard enough because I'm younger and they want to write it off as anxiety?
I FEEL like something isn't right with my heart and I can HEAR my heart making a clicking sound and sometimes a lil gurgle noise. It doesn't seem to happen when a doctor is listening and hasn't shown on any of their tests.
These heart jolts and shivers are scaring the crap out of me. It's hard to sleep at night. When I lay down flat on my back or on my side, my heart beats really strangely and hard and off beat. So, I've been sleeping sitting up and not getting very good quality sleep.
When should I worry? I really feel like they're missing something. The frequent PVCs just started yesterday and have been a little more calm today but they're still there and it's scary. I get little sharp pains in my heart too and it feels like my heart keeps falling out of normal rhythm then JOLTS or shivers to reset back into a normal rhythm.
NewPacer73, February 6, 2020 9:22pm EST
Nick, I would recommend you ask to wear a monitor for a full two weeks or more to allow them to see what your heart is doing while you're not in front of them for other evaluations. That's what caught my problem. It's really easy to use and will pick up a lot. So talk to your cardiologist and see if you can be monitored for a long period of time. Being 35 is usually not an issue for most cardiologists I know. The symptoms matter. Just recently, catching the flu caused dehydration that slowed down my heart. But I'm on a pacemaker now and know if my heart rate gets too slow, it will kick in. The pacemaker came after a cardiac arrest. It's been a lifesaver. Whenever I get strange feelings, I call the clinic and they check actual data to let me know almost always, it was nothing to worry about. Worry can be a real problem for cardiac patients. It's a chicken and egg thing. But, if I were you, I'd ask them to monitor you for issues over a longer period of time. Keep me posted. And good luck getting it fully worked up.
NewPacer73, February 6, 2020 9:23pm EST
Because I have a pacemaker, I can't get a cardiac MRI, but that is supposed to be a very definitive tool too.
nicknickx, February 7, 2020 12:02am EST
Thanks for the response...I'm calling my cardiologist tomorrow to schedule an appointment. All this is really scary. He had me setup for a stress test awhile back, before the PVCs got this bad...but I ended up missing it because of another health problem I'm having (cysts on my lungs). That day I couldn't breathe very well and didn't think I'd be able to run on a treadmill. Now, with all this going on I'm not missing anymore appointments.
I honestly fear the worst. Heart is important and you only get one :(.
I'll let you know what happens.
Shawnmcc40, February 7, 2020 9:37am EST
I suffer from PVCs and PACs and i was in the same boat you were when i first got them. I was really scared and couldn't sleep that much. Being that you had a heart scare in the past you are more in tuned to your heart and what it does. A holter monitor should show the cardiologist what they want to see. But if your EKGs and echocardiogram came back fine then the structure of your heart is ok. Stress test would be helpful too, but if your PVCs are worse when you are sitting or laying down vs walking or doing any physical activity they usually are benign.
My PACs/PACs come in cycles, they go away for 5-6 weeks at a time but come back and can last for months. Right now i'm in a very bad cycle. I can feel my heart flip flopping in my chest as i'm typing this reponse. I added potassium and magnesium to my diet, that seemed to help a bit too. I'm on meteprolol tartrate as well, they lessen the severity of my symptoms.
They started when i was 39/40 and i'm very healthy. Perfect blood pressure and perfect cholestorol. I am active as well. Mine started when i was going through a stressful divorce. Although the stress has abated, the palpitations have not unfortunately.
But it's a vicious cycle, i have done 3 stress tests, 2 echos and about 4 halter monitors but still i get anxious when i have these arrythmic beats. I'm on a light anxiety med to help when i get nervous. The reality is that the heart (along w the brain) is absolutely necessary for us to live so when it's not functioning properly it can be nervewracking, no matter what our doctors tell us.
Also check out Dr Sanjay Guptas on YouTube, he's a cardiologist but he speaks about PVC/PACs in a way thats understandable and can put your mind at ease. His videos are very informative.
Think positive!! But if you need to reach out to me my email is email@example.com. Because i know what you are going through... it sucks!!! The anxiety of not knowing can be crippling.
nicknickx, February 7, 2020 9:50pm EST
Thanks for the reply. Watching some of that doctor's videos has helped a lot with understanding what they are and has eased my mind a bit knowing that they are mostly benign, and though it sucks people have to suffer with them, knowing that I'm not alone is helpful.
Today has been back and forth. When I woke up, I had very few PVCs and they were less frequent than they were yesterday throughout the entire day. Then I had dinner about an hour ago and ever since I've been getting these flip flops where my heart stops, flutters a bit, then goes back to normal over and over. And all I'm doing is sitting in a chair watching TV. Ugh.
Your post helped a lot. I'm sorry you have to go through this as well. Might send ya an email soon :). Mine is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shawnmcc40, February 8, 2020 7:37am EST
Great, so hard for people to understand. Even though ive had them for 4 years you always question if the PCVs change or your pulse has unusual fluctuations. I am so in tune with what my heart does i catch everything. Never was an anxious person until i had these issues. Just to give you an example, i am in a tough patch right now... PVCs all day long. Last night they went away, completely. Which is very strange... but they started again when i started my day. Just part of the viscious cycle. Than can come one at a time, 2 at a time, 3 at a time... there is no typical pattern.
Get that haltor monitor and that stress test done, moreso to put your mind at ease. Glad my post helped a bit, i know exactly how you are feeling.
nicknickx, February 8, 2020 6:33pm EST
Same kinda thing happened to me last night. After awhile of laying down, they went away and I fell asleep. Woke up this morning and just layed there waiting for them to happen. Nothing. But soon as I _thought_ about getting up...I started getting one after another lol. It's terrible. Guess this is my new life. Just working on accepting it now.
Loumulv2429, February 9, 2020 8:44pm EST
Don't accept these as part of your life. If they are ruining the quality of your life, find a good EP, wear a 30 day monitor if need be. I know they are hard to catch at times, especially when you need a doctor to see them. I've done it all for 15 years. I finally got lucky and the monitor caught my pvc h@ll...... I had the ablation and it has changed my life so far.....i know they can come back full force but as of now I have a life without the flopping fish in my chest ...it's no way to live...IMO.
nicknickx, February 10, 2020 1:18am EST
Such a back and forth day today. Normally when I wake up, they start immediately as I start my day. But, nothing for pretty much the entire day. Went for a bike ride and had maybe one. Nothing when I got back home. Soon as I sat down to relax for the night....flippity flop, shiver and quiver and thump. Lol. I've had maybe 2 dozen since I've laid down a couple hours ago. I've got such a headache now. Wish I didn't feel literally every one of them.
Loumulv2429, that's a great analogy of the fish flopping. That's what it feels like for me most of the time. More like a rumble and quiver, too. It's terrible. Gonna see what happens with the rest of these tests before I decide on ablation. I've had a dozen EKGs done, one echocardiogram when I wasn't symptomatic, heart monitor for hours at ER and had the cardiologist listen to my heart extensively and so far nothing remarkable. Next is stress test this week. I don't know how I'll ever get used to this. It's ruined me in such a short time.
Loumulv2429, February 10, 2020 11:24am EST
Nicknickx, I had all those tests too...I think they have to cross off stuff from the list before they go on with ablation so. I'm assuming if your echo was ok the stress test will be ok also. The heart is a tricky little bugger. When you need it to happen it doesn't. When I went in for my ablation I didn't have a single pvc, and the whole 2 days before that I was in bigeminy all day. My doctor said if I wasn't having any he couldn't do it and I about cried because I know the h@ll it puts people thru. It's debilitating/disturbing. I was so nervous that my HR was 130 and I knew I wouldn't have a ny PVCs with it that high. As soon as he gave me some meds to slow me down I immediately started having them so he went on with the ablation. I was having 20,000 plus a day, but it took me wearing 3 hloter monitors to finally catch that..... if I were you I would ask if you can do a 30 day monitor, I wish I did !! I was always just given the 24 hour, but then a 48 hour one..... I lucked out that time. Ablation aren't for everyone, some people can live with it, but after 15 years and them getting worse I decided to do it. I had enough. I absolutely know how you feel, it's not fun. And when the doctor says live with it , it won't kill you it makes you feel hopeless. Just know there is hope, there are people on here that can attest to that. I wish you luck with the stress test, let us know how it goes.