Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC's)

What is a PVC

Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra, abnormal heartbeats that begin in one of your heart's two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a flip-flop or skipped beat in your chest.

Symptoms of PVC's

When a PVC occurs as a single premature beat, patients may describe the feeling as a "palpitation" or "skipped beat." The beat following the PVC can be strong enough to cause pain or discomfort in the chest. Individuals who have frequent PVCs or a series of them may experience a fluttering sensation in the chest or neck. If PVCs are frequent enough to reduce the heart's pumping ability, the individual may experience weakness, dizziness or fainting.

What are the risks of PVC's

Most PVCs occur infrequently and are benign. Frequent PVCs may increase the risk of developing other, more serious cardiac arrhythmias. Individuals with frequent PVCs who have underlying heart disease, structural abnormalities in the heart or have had a previous heart attack have a higher risk of death.

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