Premature ventricular contractions in healthy individuals without high blood pressure
and heart diseases do not pose any health risks. Premature ventricular contractions in patients with heart diseases (heart attacks, heart failure
, diseases of the heart valves) are associated with increased risks of developing ventricular tachycardia
. Ventricular tachycardia is a sustained run of rapid ventricular contractions. Ventricular tachycardia is life-threatening because: 1) it occurs suddenly with no prior warning, and 2) it frequently develops into ventricular fibrillation
. Ventricular fibrillation is a chaotic rhythm where the ventricles quiver rapidly in a purposeless fashion. The heart with ventricular fibrillation cannot pump blood effectively to the brain and the rest of the body. If untreated, ventricular fibrillation can be fatal within minutes. An estimated 250,000 Americans die in this way each year.
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