Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), symptoms, causes, risk factors Premature Heartbeats

Premature ventricular contractions are extra heartbeats that start in one of the two lower pumping chambers (the ventricles). 

Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), symptoms, causes, risk factors Premature Heartbeats

These extra beats disrupt the regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a flutter or a skipped beat in your chest.

Premature ventricular contractions are common; It happens to many people. Also called:

  • Compound premature ventricular contractions
  • premature ventricular beat
  • External contractions

If you have occasional premature ventricular contractions but are otherwise healthy, there is no need for concern or treatment.

If you have premature ventricular contractions or underlying heart disease, you may need treatment.

Symptoms early heartbeat

Premature ventricular contractions cause few or no symptoms. But you may feel a strange feeling in your chest, such as:

  • flutter
  • Increased heartbeat or a jumping sensation
  • Skip or miss a few hits
  • Increase your awareness of your heartbeat

When do you visit the doctor?

Talk to your doctor if you feel restless, a pounding heartbeat, or an abnormal feeling in your chest. You'll want to determine the source of these symptoms. Early ventricular contractions may be the cause, other heart rhythm problems, serious heart problems, anxiety, anemia or infection.

Causes of premature heartbeat

The heart is made up of four chambers — two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). The heart rhythm is normally controlled by the sinoatrial node — or sinus node — an area of ​​specialized cells in the right atrium.

This natural pacemaker produces electrical impulses that stimulate each heartbeat. Electrical impulses from the SA node travel through the atrium, causing its muscles to contract to pump blood into the ventricle.

PVCs are abnormal compressions that begin in the ventricles. These abnormal compressions usually beat faster than the next expected regular heartbeat. These impulses usually interrupt the normal order of pumping, with the atria beating first, then the ventricles.

Why does your heart beat with extra beats?

The reasons are not always clear. Certain triggers, heart disease, or changes in the body can make the cells in the ventricles electrically unstable. Heart disease or scarring may also distort the course of the electrical impulses.

Premature ventricular contractions can be accompanied by:

  • Taking certain medications, such as decongestants and antihistamines
  • Drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs
  • Increased levels of adrenaline in the body that may occur due to drinking caffeine, tobacco, exercise, or anxiety
  • Injury to the heart muscle due to coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, high blood pressure, or heart failure

Premature heartbeat risk factors

The following things may increase the risk of premature ventricular contractions:

  • Caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs
  • Exercising — for certain types of premature ventricular contractions
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • worry
  • Underlying heart disease, including congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, and weak heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)


If you have frequent premature ventricular contractions or certain types of premature ventricular contractions, you may be at increased risk of developing heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) or weakening of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).

In rare cases, when accompanied by heart disease, repeated premature contractions can lead to dangerous and abnormal heart rhythms and possibly sudden cardiac death.

Videos of premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)

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