Heart & Cardiology/cardiac

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Question
Hello, I am a 49 year old woman about 5'5" weight 225lbs.  I have high blood pressure and an A1c of 6.5.  I had symptoms of chest pressure that went through to the back when I walked and also was experiencing PVCs.  I went ahead and had a heart cath done due to my strong family history of heart disease with both Mother and Father.  The cath was clear.  I still experience the symptoms.  The PVCs have gotten way worse and for the past 3 days they are happening all the time.  I feel them strongly and get a weir feeling in my chest when it happens.  I only drink about 1 diet Pepsi a day.  I do not smoke or drink.  I know that it is normal for people to have PVCs but I am concerned due to my family history even though my heart cath was good.  Please advise.  Thank you.

Answer
Hello Sara,

Your PVCs are not a threat to life or health in someone with normal cath, which I presume included a normal left ventricular ejection fraction of some measurement that proved you left ventricle was contracting normally.  Premature beats are normal heart activity, easy to understand as normal from knowledge of the heart's electrical system and occurring in about half of us.  They don't mean you have heart disease or will in the future develop heart disease or any cardiac catastrophe.  PVCs are harmless in someone with a normally contracting left ventricle.

It's possible to have angina with normal coronary arteries.  Poor function of the tiny branches of the arteries can cause chest pain on exertion.  If your pain is a problem, try nitroglycerine under the tongue and if that helps, get long acting nitroglycerine forms like isosorbide or a nitroglycerine skin patch.

Please write back if this note doesn't answer all your questions.

David Richardson

Heart & Cardiology

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David Richardson

Expertise

Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.

Experience

Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Organizations
Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Publications
Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

Education/Credentials
M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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