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Premature Ventricular Beats
(Ventricular Premature Beats; Premature Ventricular Contractions; Ventricular Ectopic Beats)
|A beat (contraction) of the lower chambers of the heart.|
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- Physical or emotional stress
- Physical exercise
- Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (eg, cocaine, amphetamines)
- Certain medications, especially those that stimulate the heart
- Heart disease:
- Age: frequency increases with age, PVBs are most common in the elderly
- Sex: more common in men than women
- Race: African Americans have a much higher risk than Caucasian
- Heart disease
- Use of caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
- Feeling the heart beating (palpitations)
- Feeling of a skipped or missed heart beat
- Electrolyte levels, especially potassium and magnesium
- For medication levels in people taking medication that may affect heart rhythms
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) —shows the electrical activity of the heart rhythm and rate.
- Ambulatory or holter monitoring —continuous cardiac monitoring. This may be used if you have symptoms but heart rhythm disturbance does not show up on an ECG. This type of monitoring is helpful because it measures heart activity over a longer period of time.
- Echocardiogram —shows an image and function of heart structures using ultrasound (high-frequency sound waves).
- If you smoke, quit
- If you consume caffeine and/or alcohol, do so in moderation
American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org
Heart Rhythm Society http://www.hrsonline.org/
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Canadian Health Network http://www.canadian-health-network.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca
Ectopic beats. Your Heart website. Available at: http://www.yourheart.org.uk/arrhythmias04.php. Accessed September 22, 2005
Selzman KA, Gettes LS. Exercise-induced premature ventricular beats: Should we do anything differently? Circulation. 2004;109:2374-2375.
Ventricular premature beats. Merck Manual – Second Home Edition website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/print/sec03/ch027/ch027f.html. Accessed September 22, 2005.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 01/14/2014