Pvcs/pacs during exercise

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Submitted by Dr T on January 17, 2015 – 11:23am

I’m 68 and have been an avid runner for 20 years. I’ve also been a “sufferer” of pvcs/pacs most of my life. I have an annual cardio checkup and all tests have always been normal. My Dr. Has reassured me on the benign nature of these things-I have many more PACs then pvcs. I try hard to remain reassured and handle it fairly well most of the time but I do have difficult moments. Every so often during a run I get the extra beats and if I stop running for a minute they subside until I speed up, and they return.  There are many days though when I never get them while running. My Dr isn’t concerned and tells me to keep running regardless. He says there is no real rhyme or reason that they occur so try to ignore it. He indicated that there are days that they may come during exercise and some days they won’t and either way, not a big deal.  I’m trying hard to deal with it but on those days that they do come with exercise, it’s hard. Wonder what you think.  Thanks so much for your time.

Hi Don,

Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs) are relatively common. Some people are very sensitive and feel every abnormality, others are unaware of them.

“Dangerous” PVCs are generally limited to patients with significant underlying heart disease, such as coronary artery disease or valve diseaseHowever, patients with NEW symptoms should be checked because that may indicate something serious may have happened to their heart.

Most people with PVCs and otherwise normal heart function don’t need treatment, only reassurance they are safe once their heart proves OK.

Studies have shown that in some older patients with a known history of heart disease, frequent exercise PVCs proved to be an additional cardiac risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and/or diabetes. If you were one of those at-risk patients, I’d recommend appropriate tests including an exercise tress test that might lead to further treatment.


In general, patients with arrhythmias such as PACs and PVCs should try to eliminate caffeine, tobacco and alcohol usage, as it may reduce their frequency. Beta blockers are sometimes used to reduce their frequency, but will not eliminate them.  

I have written about this before in “PACs and PVCs”. You can also calculate your risk for heart disease. If you were to be diagnosed with heart disease is found, you can also evaluate what cardiac treatment would be most appropriate in your case.

If you believe this answer helped, please consider a charitable contribution to the Portland Community Free Clinic, which provides free medical care to needy patients in the area.

Hope this helps,
Dr T

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