Long time sufferer of "occasional" PVCs... Recent sufferer of an avalanche of them!

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r0maalan
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 9/5/2014 7:45 PM (GMT -7)   
I've been dealing with PVCs since November '00. The first day I got them, they came in droves and lasted all night while I was in the ER. Even 'til this day, and one of the only things that kept me sane was a nurse looking at the monitor, turning to me and saying: "Whatever is happening, it's benign." She was right, I've whad all the tests and they were confirmed to be benign. It took me a year to mentally recover from that incident and only had sporadic episodes that lasted over a few minutes throughout the years.

Fast forward to Oct '12, where I had my next major event. Talk about being miserable and scared... For 2 weeks I was subjected to a torrent of PVCs. They were so bad I had to visit the ER again where I got an Echo and another stress test. Guess what they found? Nothing. My heart was in good operating condition. Again, I got the "They are benign." reassurance. And, as soon as they started, they stopped. After that, and over the next 2 years, I had few more ER or Urgent Care visits and all of my EKGs have come back normal. But, for the most part, they were dormant until this summer.

Since July 13, the PVCs have been relentless. Went to the cardiologist once, the ER once, and both EKGs were normal again. However, I am now on a Holter Monitor for 24 hours... What could cause the sudden onset of these and make them so severe? I don't smoke, drink, or take part in recreational drugs. I also supplement with magnesium and potassium... I just don't get it.

As a grown man, I find myself very fragile at the moment. I've cried to my wife, isolated myself, and have limited my activities with the kids because I am so scared. Based on the tests I've had over the years, I have a structurally sound heart, my calcium scoring is low, my EKGs are good, and I am asymptomatic. So, I should find some peace in that, right? Well, I can't. There are just so many and I can't understand why they are here with such a vengeance? Even when getting the monitor today, I was looking for some reassurance and I couldn't get any from the nurses putting it on. I guess, maybe a sudden onset of a lot of PVCs isn't normal? I don't know. But, I am unnerved by this.

I do get some relief by reading some of the posts here, but I also get scared from other things I read. Anyone ever experience anything like this?

Post Edited (r0maalan) : 9/8/2014 7:14:59 PM (GMT-6)


JungRulz
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2014
Total Posts : 394
   Posted 9/6/2014 3:58 PM (GMT -7)   
If you could elaborate a little on droves, torrents and relentless, it may help to put it in perspective. I had 6000 PVCs/day at one point this year, 3974/day at another, how many did you have? Some people perceive even hundreds/day as too much. In an organically healthy heart, i.e. the blood flow to it is normal, the electrical system is otherwise normal, and the ectopics have been properly disgnosed as benign, they really are nothing to worry about. (I've never been able to convince myself of that, and I doubt I ever will, but the doctors are always so confident that it is nothing to worry about.

Benign PVCs: A heart rhythm doctor’s approach.
www.drjohnm.org/2013/06/benign-pvcs-a-heart-rhythm-doctors-approach/

Diagnostic Approach to Palpitations.
www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0215/p743.html

Life Off Beat.
www.lifeoffbeat.com/

Something another HealingWell member (Tom aka pvct) and I have been discussing is GI tract disturbances as a cause or co-factor in arrthyhmias. I'll include links to some of the more promising articles. In response to my recent bout of PVCs (I've been getting them on and off for 40 years), I decided to have a Endoscopy done (swallowing problems) and Colonoscopy (it was time to have one, I was supposed to have it three years after my first, this was 5 years). Discovered were duodenitis, diverticuli, and a single white plaque in my esophagus. Noteworthy of the Esophagus and Stomach is that the Vagus Nerve runs along the Esophagus and stomach, and is also connected to the heart. The body is unique, the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous system influence the heart rate and force of contraction and digestive processes as well. When one is dominant, the other suppressed, so that during Fight or Flight, by your sympathetic nervous system, your heart is beating fast and harder, and digestion is put on hold. When the Fight ot Flight is over, the Parasympathetic System slows your heart rate and speeds up digestion.

Cardiac manifestations and sequelae of gastrointestinal disorders.
bjcardio.co.uk/2009/07/cardiac-manifestations-and-sequelae-of-gastrointestinal-disorders/

Update on gastric dysrhythmia: pathophysiology,clinical significance and futurehorizons.
This is a PDF Download. Interesting work on Gastric Involvement in dysrrhythmias
aups.org.au/Proceedings/44/63-73/63-73.pdf

Something that most of us don't realize is that many people, perhaps most, with ectopics in significant numbers, don't feel them, and may only become aware of them due to a physical or pre-employment screening. Just because the guy or gal across the table from you at lunch is not complaining of them doesn't mean he or she is not getting them.

Caffeine, sugar, spicey foods, MSG and Sodium in general, and a host of other things, cause some people to develop ectopics and they usually avoid those triggers. Too little sleep, too much stress, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, reactions between medications whether prescription or OTC or both, reactions between food and medications, thyroid levels, electrolyotes, vitamins, etc. can all contribute to ectopics. But vitamins and electrolytes in abundance are no assurance that they wil tame ectopics, in some people, any particular substance may make them worse. You mentioned potassium, have you had blood levels taken to be sure you don't have too much? Some medications can hinder the elimination of Potassium and too much can be a problem.

Reading about thyroid levels (I no longer have a thyroid), I was surprise to see the term Sub-clinical. People with Sub-clinical issues are people that are in the normal range of thyroid levels but are manifesting symptoms of being hyper or hypo nevertheless. These people are treated and often their symptoms go away. I wonder if you may be the same with ectopics and electrolytes. The doctor looks, says everything is fine, yet maybe for the individual, they need a little more or a little less. I would speak to your Doctor about your Magnesium and Potassium levels, if they are by prescription or at his/her urging, don't change anything without consulting him/her first. Why is your calcium low, how low, have you discussed this with your doctor and asked for advice.

If possible, have comprehensive blood testing done now (including thyroid) then again during a lull in activity, the doctor can make determinations, but you look over the data too. Keep a diary, what do you eat, when do you eat it. What time you go to bed, stress. Take your pulse a few times a day under similar circumstances, you're watching T.V. in the evening, before lunch at work. When we come down with a cold or virus, our heart rate increases. Several years ago, while at work, my heart rate became sporadic. My heart rate is usually is about 60 at rest, I'm on a Beta Blocker, so I took a little bit more Atenolol (which I was on at the time, and my doctor instructed me to take a little more as needed) and had called the Plant Paramedics. I took my pulse, it was 72 and irregular, up from my usual 60. By the time I was taken to the plant hospital, my extra ectopics had stopped, my heart rate had decreased.

Your words, following, could have been written by me, virtually verbatim, I live this myself, I fully sympathize.

"As a grown man, I find myself very fragile at the moment. I've cried to my wife, isolated myself, and have limited my activities with the kids because I am so scared. Based on the tests I've had over the years, I have a structurally sound heart, my calcium scoring is low, my EKGs are good, and I am asymptomatic. So, I should find some peace in that, right?"

Post Edited (JungRulz) : 9/6/2014 5:01:25 PM (GMT-6)


foxov
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/8/2014 8:23 AM (GMT -7)   
I also throw PVC's and have for 13 years now. I have times when I can go several months without any and then times when they feel they are almost constant. I usually get very irritable when they start up and if they continue I sort of feel angry. If they don't go away for awhile I always get to a point where I just resign myself to the idea that if this takes my life, it takes my life. That is when I finally find peace about the whole thing and it isn't long and they ease up. I know they can be caused by hormone changes, stress, and even sometimes the position I'm in. I've lost many a nights sleep because of these things. I researched what happens with pvc's when I first started having them and how your heart beats, then pauses longer than a normal time, so it fills with more blood then normal and then has to beat harder to get all of that blood out and through my body, which makes sense. My cardiologist says the lump I feel in my throat is when the blood is forced out of my heart. I ask and ask and ask questions whenever I see my cardiologist and I'm not embarrassed to say anything, because I have gotten alot of answers through doing that and it gives me peace. I also think, if you aren't totally comfortable with your cardiologist, find a different one. The first cardiologist I saw, looked at my halter moniter results and said well, you have the kind of arrythmia where one day your heart will stop and there will be nothing anyone can do, you will die. I walked out of his office knowing I was never going to darken his door again and I found another cardiologist. I wish I would have thought to say to him, isn't that how all of us eventually die. One of my friends told me I was dwelling on them too much and I needed to not think about them. I wanted to say, how about I stand here poking you in the forehead over and over again for hours and you tell me you can ignore it. Let's all try to get rid of as much stress as we can and trust God for our lives. God bless

kazbern
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 8384
   Posted 9/8/2014 10:48 AM (GMT -7)   
I've had episodes of PVCs that have been upsetting, and I don't drink excess caffeine or live a high stress life, or smoke or take any other stimulant etc. etc. I finally concluded (to myself, no one with an MD next to his name will agree) that my seasonal allergies trigger my PVCs, specifically my asthma.

My asthma isn't particularly bad, and I don't use my albuterol inhaler much (because it makes my heart race for one), but the PVCs that come along with this are most annoying. I've been using my steroidal inhaler regularly, recently doubling my dose because I could tell things were getting worse.

My GP has said that we can try beta blockers to see if that helps, so OP, maybe your DR has some ideas to help you manage your PVCs. I won't do beta blockers because I think they may adversely affect my asthma (natch!) so right now I am cutting back all caffeine (I take one cup of black tea every morning, going to zero ASAP) since my PVCs came back last night.

I also found out, last night, that there are some positional problems - I was lying on my right side and was miserable, on my back and they didn't bother me. I slept soundly on my back.
*******************
52 yrs old, IBD diagnosis in spring '01. Proctitis, gastritis, ileitis.
Currently taking Pentasa (3g/day) generic Colazal (9 6 pills/day), Sulfazine (1.5 g/day), Prevacid, folic acid, vit. D (2K iu), flax seed oil (2 tsp/day), psyllium (2 tsp daily), mesalamine enema as needed. Gluten free as of 5/30/11. Scope in 8/11 found no evidence of inflammation!

pvct
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 9/8/2014 2:40 PM (GMT -7)   
what a wonderful thread full of great information and very dedicated
sufferers -- these PVCs like JungRule mentioned are in multitudes at times, and I agree that there has got to be a connection with digestion and or GI track, among other things.

I can relate to everyone. I have had these disruptive PVC's for decades. They come and go. They come and go. Then they come and go some more. And some more. shakehead Hackneyed as it sounds,
"hang in there". Welcome to the new member and take comfort. There are many here who are alike in the PVC realm.

Great references JungRule.

kazbern
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 8384
   Posted 9/8/2014 3:59 PM (GMT -7)   
The one thing that bugs me is that my dad has developed an a-fib that requires treatment. When I went through all the diagnostics everything was benign, but I expect at some point that I'll develop an a-fib like he did (we're alike in many physical ways, but perhaps it's just random, who knows). So sitting here feeling short of breath (asthma? a fib?) and a bit lightheaded (asthma? a-fib?) and feeling the PVCs kind of makes me mad that there isn't a way for me to just *know* what's going on.
*******************
52 yrs old, IBD diagnosis in spring '01. Proctitis, gastritis, ileitis.
Currently taking Pentasa (3g/day) generic Colazal (9 6 pills/day), Sulfazine (1.5 g/day), Prevacid, folic acid, vit. D (2K iu), flax seed oil (2 tsp/day), psyllium (2 tsp daily), mesalamine enema as needed. Gluten free as of 5/30/11. Scope in 8/11 found no evidence of inflammation!

JungRulz
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2014
Total Posts : 394
   Posted 9/8/2014 6:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Foxov, welcome to HealingWell.

Kazbern, I can understand your frustration. After have 6000 PVCs/day, I finally got relief, about a months worth. They just started up again today, I can't imagine the reason. Do read about the GastroIntestinal Tract involvement in rhythm disturbances, my earlier post here addresses a few resources. You have, from the information listed as a signature to your post, GI Tract issues.

From the link on PVCs I provided, the doctor had this to say:

"PVCs are probably the second most common rhythm problem I see. Atrial arrhythmia, including AF and atrial flutter are the most common."

Atrial rhythm issues are common, I would not equate PVCs with the likelihood of developing Atrial issues. There is a device you can purchase that when held in the hands, provides a lead (cardiologists often use a 12 lead EKG) worth of data, when applied to your chest, another lead, and when held by one hand and applied in designated areas more information still. The device is about $200 and couples with a cell phone, then saved to show to your doctor or sent to the company for interpretation in return for a small fee. Other options would be for you to ask for an event monitor (from your doctor) and wear it for 30 days. When something of note happens, the data is sent to the company supplying the device and the results are looked at immediately.

Foxov, what your first cardiologist said was inexcusable. Some people have more serious issues than others, but a doctor that believed a patient's condition was dire that did not pull his patient's driver license is subject to significant liability lawsuits. I've been in a cardiologist's office when he told a patient that the patient needed to immediately go to the hospital, but the patient had a vacation planned and left the office. The cardiologist phoned the State Police. Some people have rhythm issues that are more serious than most, but even those patients would be provided with pacemaker/defibrillators. I hope your new cardiologist treats you with more respect. Those of us that feel our PVCs are in a minority, many people have them that don't know they're occurring. People like us that worry about what is otherwise a benign rhythm issue tend to annoy doctors that are aware of how many people have rhythm issues, they don't treat them with much concern. When annoyed, some doctors can get bitter and sarcastic.

Bedside manners are grossly missing in some doctors. I had mild surgery done on my wrist by an Indonesian Doctor who was a Buddhist (this was done in the U.S. and he was born in Indonesia, but lived in the U.S. most of his life). He helped push the gurney (the table they transport you on from your room to the Operating Room) back to the patient's room after the surgery. I don't know many doctors that do that. In addition, he did surgery for indigent people. I had a cardiologist that snapped at me because I was concerned about my PVCs, he told me (on a Saturday, when he wasn't at work) that he didn't have time for my concerns, he had patients "with real problems".

Best to all.

kazbern
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 8384
   Posted 9/8/2014 6:45 PM (GMT -7)   
JungRulz, thanks for the pointer toward GI issues and PVCs. I'm actually in a solid remission of my IBD and have been since 2011 (3 years!). My PVCs started in a noticeable way in 2012, and have been seasonal since then (spring/fall allergies).

I found it really interesting to read last night about positional variations in PVCs, or at least awareness of them. Perhaps that's related to the vagus nerve, too.
*******************
52 yrs old, IBD diagnosis in spring '01. Proctitis, gastritis, ileitis.
Currently taking Pentasa (3g/day) generic Colazal (9 6 pills/day), Sulfazine (1.5 g/day), Prevacid, folic acid, vit. D (2K iu), flax seed oil (2 tsp/day), psyllium (2 tsp daily), mesalamine enema as needed. Gluten free as of 5/30/11. Scope in 8/11 found no evidence of inflammation!

r0maalan
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 9/8/2014 7:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks all! I've done lots and lots of research on PVCs starting in 2000. I've watched the medical community change their opinion on the effects of the vagus nerve and stomach on PVCs. Luckily, while that opinion has changed, the benigness of PVCs still remains constant. Which is a good thing. :)

I've been watching the Taurine & Arginine cure for some time, but never really needed to pursue it. And, if you aren't familiar with this, look up the research by Dr. Eby in Texas. Basically, he was able to squash PACs and PVCs to almost 0/day by supplementing with those two amino acids. This past Saturday was so bad for me, I considered taking them but found that cottage cheese has a healthy dose of Taurine in it, so I ate some. (I don't like taking supplements. I'd rather get them naturally.) Guess what? I was PVC free all day Sunday. And, today I started off with a serving of cottage cheese and they were gone all day. They made a minor appearance later this evening, but that was only after eating a heavy meal which has always been a trigger for me.
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