Premature Ventricular Contractions
Have you ever felt your heart skip a beat?
If so, it was most likely a PVC, an early heartbeat originating from your heart’s two lower pumping chambers (the ventricles). In reality, the heart doesn’t skip a beat. Instead, an extra beat comes sooner than normal, followed by a pause, and then a stronger-than-normal beat. During the pause, the heart fills with more blood giving the next beat extra force. And that causes the feeling of a flip-flop in your chest.
PVCs happen to almost everyone at some point, and have many potential causes.
PVCs interrupt the normal order of pumping, which is the upper chambers of your heart first, then the lower. As a result, the out-of-sync beats are usually less effective in pumping blood throughout the body. If PVCs are frequent enough, you may experience weakness, dizziness or fainting. In most cases the underlying cause cannot be identified, but PVCs may be the result of disease or injury to the heart. If you feel the symptoms of PVC, your doctor may recommend tests to rule out any other heart conditions. While most people with PVC do not require treatment, those with underlying heart disease may need medication or lifestyle changes to avoid triggers.
Symptoms may include:
• Flip-flop or fluttering feeling in the chest
• Pounding or jumping heartbeats
• Skipped beats or missed beats
• Increased awareness of your heartbeat
• No symptoms