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What is the cause and treatment for premature ventricular contractions

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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist
Practicing since : 1983
Answered : 1337 Questions
Question
Hi Doctor:
I mentioned in my previous question that I have pvcs for approximately 4-5 years now. I am due for a colonoscopy and was concerned that the procedure would cause problems with the pvcs. I went for an ekg which came back abnormal. It apparently showed numerous pvcs. I had to wear a holter monitor which don't know the results yet and need to scheduled an echocardiogram. Cannot have the colonoscopy at this time. I am just concerned of why do I have these arrhythmias and can they pose a serious condition. The cardio does not seem too concerned yet the PCP gave me the ekg and seems concerned. I don't feel the pvcs when I am doing things but feel them when I am relaxed. Stress seemsto aggravate them which I have a very stressful job. Please advise. Thank you for your help.
Posted Wed, 13 Aug 2014 in Headache and Migraines
 
 
Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
Most unlikely to have serious any heart problem.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thank you for your question. PVCs are very common and do not usually indicate any serious underlying heart disease. Up to 50% of middle-aged healthy people experience PVCs without heart disease. The purpose of the investigations you are undergoing will be to ensure there are no heart problems present. The echo will be able to assess the condition of your heart muscle and the function of the heart chambers and the valves. It is highly unlikely this will show a significant abnormality especially as your cardiologist does not appear too concerned. There are certain triggers that you may wish to consider avoiding. Caffeine and alcohol both can increase the frequency of PVCs. Stress, also, is a trigger but this may be difficult for you to control if you have a stressful job. You may wish to consider relaxation exercises or yoga.
It is not known why some people have frequent PVCs. Their occurrence is related to the electrical activity in the heart but why some people have frequent episodes is unclear. What is known is that they rarely pose a threat to well-being. Drug treatment is usually unnecessary but when needed, beta blockers are the first choice and I note you take these as needed.
My advice would be to try to be reassured by my information and wait for the results of your echo. This is most likely to be normal. If so, I would expect you can undergo your colonoscopy without any problems.
I hope this is of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Regards,
Dr K A Pottinger,
MBChB FRCA
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