Chronic PVC and PAC: Need To Live With Them

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Hello all!

I have not posted in this site for awhile, but like many of you, I suffer from PACs and PVCs. They come and go and when they hit, they are frightening.

A few stats:

  1. I am 55 years old
  2. Good shape.
  3. Borderline hypertension and borderline type 2 diabetic.
  4. History of anxiety and depression.
  5. Trying to be physically active.
  6. Vegetarian, no smoking, but the weekend drinks with my wife are common. Just wine or beer.
  7. Resting heart rate is about 55-60 and this goes down to about 40 when sleeping. All considered normal from several specialists.

My struggle with PVCs and PACs startd 20 years ago and I still have them from time to time. Right now, I am going through another rough episode. They feel like my heart is shaking or I feel the skip and then the second, more forceful beat. My current episodes are mostly during the day and when I exercise. They got so bad a couple of days ago that I ran into the emergency room. All blood test, EKG were perfectly normal. Almost all of my extra beats were PACs and the very kind ER doc consulted with the ER cardio doc and said I was okay.

I had a stress echo done four years ago...fully normal. I have two Zio patches done in 2020 and 2021. These patches affix to your chest and they monitor your heart rhythm for 48 hours to over a week. Both results were normal: regular sinus rhythm with PACs and PVCs. The PVC/PAC burden one year was about 1.7% and the next year it about 1%. So I was having about 800 to 1200 ectopic beats in 24 hours. A cardiologist and an electrophysiologist both stated that my heart was fine. I was told that I simply have to live with them and they will do no harm.

What I feel when these flare up:

  1. Scared
  2. Nervous
  3. Anxious
  4. Avoidance.
  5. Worry/Depression

These feelings only make the extra beats worse.

What are my symptoms:

  1. Heart feels like it shakes, skips, then the forceful beat.
  2. I don't really feel them at night (I used to and that ruined sleep).
  3. They start when I get up and last through out the day. Sometimes I feel one every minute, or every two minutes. Sometimes they flare up where I sense 3-5 in a minute.
  4. They get worse when I exercise so I am seeing another specialist next week, but the doctors have told me that extra adrenaline from working out will make them worse, but not dangerous.
  5. When I am sitting down, they slow down, but the moment I get up, they kick off again. Again, I have been told that this is normal.

These flare ups last any where from two weeks to a month, then they mostly disappear.

Your thoughts? Assurances? Comments?

Thank you for reading!

0 likes, 5 replies

5 Replies

  • Posted

    I could have written your description...mine sometimes are a little more frequent. I particularly am intrigued by the emotional impact. I describe it to my wife as being two different people. When they happen I withdraw, am scared, and anxious...I literally want to jump out of my body. I had a bad run of bigeminy this morning and am sitting here now calmly typing.

    • Posted

      Hi John

      Thank you for replying to my post. Yes...the emotional impact is challenging. When my PACs and PVCs start their cycle of torture, I withdraw, become fearful, and my anxiety increases. I start feeling sad and worried more often and I start to avoid going out anywhere to enjoy life. These feelings of anxiety and fear only make the palpitations worse so then we are caught in a cycle.

      I met with my primary doctor this morning and explained what I am going through. He reassured me that I am fine, but I will be seeing an electrophysiologist in a couple of days. I am having extra beats when I go for a walk, get groceries, or exercise. Since I do not have other symptoms such as pain/passing out/severe lightheaded, I am supposed to be fine. But I struggle with emotions of this. I am hoping my EP has a solution or can increase my confidence until this episode passes. Usually these last about a month to six weeks before they quiet down again.

      Thank you,


  • Posted

    yep all that . i have had a recently stressful time and have allowed myself to get exhausted loads of blinking ectopics when tbeyd virtually gone or certainly werent invading me . like you guys they impact my joy to do anything They suck the joy out of my life. i accept after21/2 years of this its not going to kill me but it mkes me so fearful and unwilling to participate in stuff. I'm not an obviously anxious person and am a get on with it typr but boy these things are challenging.

  • Edited

    I am 53 and have been having bigeminy every day since February. Ive had private scans, ECG, 24 hour monitor. Heart health is fine. ECG shows the bigeminy as too the 24 hour ECG.

    Just been left because my heart is ok. i too am withdrawn and I have resigned from my job. I am so down and not enjoying life. I wake up with a dread of getting up. I get some relief when sitting or in bed.

    I'm so desperate! Any help or advise please.

  • Posted

    You've written a great summary. My stats are similar to yours, and I think you've described the feelings this creates quite well. I've had pvc/pacs on and off for about 20 years, and it has taken me some severe cycles of this to get to the point where I can function "normally" during the worst of it. It still creates anxiety though. I think it is ok to mentally growl at medical professionals when they tell you it is "normal." Although I understand what they mean, this will not ever feel normal. What to do: I take reassurance in the fact the cardio doc says my heart is well. When they hit, I try to relieve any stressors I can discover. For me this includes taking magnesium, hawthorn, motherwort and CoQ10. I do some deep breathing and stretching to relax the vagus nerve, eat well, and stay in motion as much as possible. When it was at its worst, I slept sitting up sideways on the couch so that I didn't feel the heartbeats as much. You've learned a lot so far in what you've been through. It's ok to feel whatever you feel. Try to remember you'll get through this. And how great it feels when they go away for a while. Take it one day at a time.

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