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Heart & Cardiology/ventricular premature beats prognosis


QUESTION: Good day doctor

I write this post confused and anxious.

I suffer from what my cardiologist describes as ectopic beats, I usually have a cardiac check up once a year which includes a resting ecg,a stress test, and echo and at times a holter.

They never ever seemed to have picked up the irregular beats but they assumed it was VPB's from the way I described it to them. The doc refused to give me a beta blocker because he told me unless we actually pick something up then only and he reffered me to a psychologist I didn't like his handling of my situation beecause I have researched this issue and expect an explanation.

My job includes me flying around cities.

I've noticces these irregular beats occur during running (I run regularly) sometimes after a meal, at night if I lie on my left side. Twice and this was 2 years ago I got up with a racing irregular heartbeat I thought I was in vtach! I rushed to the ER but by the time I got there it stopped. I do remember taking zinc tablets during that period it seems to start it because I got the same spisode when I started taking it again

My concerns are...

Since I get ventricular premature beats am I slightly at risk in developing vtach? Some of your posts say yes and some say no so I don't know how you evaluate each question posted to youm
Are their any additional tests you would recommend?

My job requires me boarding a plane often now that I have this I am concerned about getting vtach onboard is their a beta blocker I can take before flying to minimise the physical heart palpitations?

Am I at risk for scd? Or vfibb? Some doctors say individuals like me are slight at risk  I just want a clear straight foward answer if I am? or if I'm not more importantly a detailed explanation of why the heart acts this way especially in a person such as myself who doesn't smoke and does endurance exercise

Lastly can an anxiety attack or panic trigger vtach or a string of ventricular premature beats if yes is it dangerous?

If I do get ventricular premature beats in a continous fashion should I go to the ER, these beats do create anxiety in me
I need to live my life instead of worrying about dropping dead please advise

ANSWER: Hello Razia,

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.   Why some people feel premature beats and others don't notice them is unknown.

With normal echoes, you need have no fear of scd or vfib.  Ventricular tachycardia is very regular, so I doubt if the rapid irregular heartbeat was vtach.  Your risk of vtach is VERY low.

Anxiety or panic make premature beats more frequent but don't lead to vtach.

Beta blockers reduce premature beats in some people and are very safe.  Metoprolol and atenolol are the most commonly used beta blockers.

I would not go to an ER with strings of premature beats.  They are harmless.

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

David Richardson

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: How does 1 know if they in vtach? More importantly
Continous veentricular premature beats that are one after the other how is this not dangerous? I feel light headed when it happend but I have never fainted?

My doctor told me 'why take a beta blocker when you don't need it, why start meds that can possibly cause other side effects, rather treat anxiety which is the issue'

Be honest with me doctor am I safe ? Do I need to see an electrophysiologist? Or should I just accept these skipped beats even if they come continously?

Have you ever experienced this?

Vtach is 3 or more PVCs in a row.  Not dangerous.  Just a nuisance.  Should vtach ever make you faint, then I'd go to an ER.

I agree with your doctor. Beta blockers are not very effective in reducing VPCs.

You're safe.  No need for an electrophysiologist unless you faint.

No, I'm not aware of premature bets.

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David Richardson


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


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.

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

Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

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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