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Premature Ventricular Contractions

Posted Apr 03 2010 1:31am

Premature Ventricular Contractions (also known as Premature Ventricular Complex, Ventricular Premature Contraction (VPC), Ventricular Premature Beat (VPB) or ectopic beats) are actually quite common conditions where a contraction of ventricle chambers in the heart occur ahead of the sinoatrial node. When captured by an electrocardiograph (ECG or EKG), these ectopic beats can be clearly seen and monitored.

A Premature Ventricular Contraction may feel like a skipped beat or a palpitation in the chest. In a normal heartbeat, the ventricles sequentially contract after the atria which prime the ventricle with blood. In the event of Premature Ventricular Contraction, the ventricles contract first, which means that the blood circulation is momentarily inhibited. Furthermore, when the rhythm returns to normal, the atria has contracted a second time within the cycle which means there is more blood in the ventricle resulting in a heavier beat which is the most noticeable affect of the condition. Single beat Premature Ventricular Contraction do not usually pose a danger and are often unnoticeable in most healthy individuals.

The cause of the condition is very much open to debate and is exactly why time and effort has been invested in compiling this website. While some individuals can experience success with one approach, the same methods may not have the same results for the next. Therefore, the search to find a solution can often be a frustrating one. Some of the most obvious causes (and those that are most likely to be pointed out by your doctor) are:

    * Stress
    * Lack of sleep/exhaustion
    * Magnesium and potassium deficiency (electrolyte imbalances)
    * Smoking
    * Alcohol
    * Recreational Drugs
    * Caffeine
    * Ischemia
    * Myocarditis
    * Cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic or dilated
    * Myocardial contusion
    * Hypoxia
    * Hypercapnia (CO2 poisoning)
    * Mitral valve prolapse
    * Tricyclic antidepressants
    * Calcium excess
    * Thyroid problems
    * Heart attack
    * Adrenaline excess

I had lived with Premature Ventricular Contractions for some 10 years. It started around 1997 when I first started working in an office. The first symptom I ever experienced was not quite the same as the symptoms that came once the disorder really developed. It first started with that horrible flutter or flip-flop feeling that most sufferers experience, but I never used to notice the subsequent ectopic beat resulting in that horrendous thud. That came later.

I work in IT and at that time my lifestyle started to become very sedentary. I don’t believe in my case that the sedentary lifestyle was specifically responsible for my Premature Ventricular Contractions but such a lifestyle definitely contributed to another condition which was. I was in good health but always suffered very bad heartburn. Let’s face it though, with all the drugs advertised on television, and all the prescriptions available through a pharmacy, it’s fairly obvious heartburn is an issue for many. But since mine was hereditary, it was definitely quite an extreme case. Many sufferers have stated that they feel there is a link between gastric ailments and Premature Ventricular Contractions, and while I was not positive that this was the case for me, it was definitely something worth my while exploring.

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