Submitted by Dr T on October 11, 2013 – 11:21am
I know a pacemaker will not prevent pvc’s but is it any protection from a pvc string? It seems logical that a pacer is to correct abnormal rythms and should thereby interrupt a pvc string before it could become life-threatening by returning rythm back to normal. Is this a valid assumption? Thank you for your response.
(Image from: How Does a Pacemaker Work?)
You don’t quite understand what a pacemaker does. A pacemaker is not used to tread PVCs. This is what they are used for:
- Speed up a slow heart rhythm (bradycardia).
- Help control an abnormal or fast heart rhythm.
- Make sure the ventricles contract normally if the atria are quivering instead of beating with a normal rhythm (a condition called atrial fibrillation).
- Coordinate electrical signaling between the upper and lower chambers of the heart.
- Coordinate electrical signaling between the ventricles. Pacemakers that do this are called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices. CRT devices are used to treat heart failure.
- Prevent dangerous arrhythmias caused by a disorder called long QT syndrome.
Usually PVCs are not dangerous, but if they are so symptomatic as to be disruptive, first try eliminate all of the factors such as caffeine, certain foods, stress, before asking for treatment with medications. Simple medications such as beta-blockers will reduce their incidence. Very frequently, this is enough to improve your symptoms. In summary, PVCs often go away on their own without any treatment beyond being reassured by your doctor.
Hope this helps,