Submitted by Dr T on September 8, 2010 – 4:12pm
Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) are an arrhythmia and relatively common. Some people are very sensitive and feel every abnormality, others are blissfully unaware of them.
PVCs may indicate the presence of underlying heart disease. If a patient has NO significant underlying heart disease, PVCs are probably not dangerous. Most “antiarrhythmic” drugs are relatively poor at treating PVCs (though they often reduce their frequency.) and can make dangerous arrhythmias more likely. Doctors and patients should thus be very reluctant to treat PVCs with drugs other than Beta blockers (drugs that block the effect of adrenaline). Since beta blockers are generally well tolerated and do not make the arrhythmia worse, they are often worth a try. However, patients with NEW palpitations should be checked because that may indicate something serious may have happened to their heart.
In general, patients should try to eliminate caffeine, tobacco and alcohol usage, as it may reduce the frequency of PVCs.
Thus, PVCs sometimes are a marker for underlying cardiac diseases that are dangerous!