Premature ventricular contractions are not uncommon. They occur as the bottom chambers of the heart experience extra beats. Usually, a beat of the heart starts in the upper atrial chamber. An electrical impulse causes the atria to contract and to push blood to the ventricle. When the ventricle beats too soon, an extra beat results and is followed by another beat.
When a person experiences PVCs, he or she may feel an extremely strong heartbeat that is followed by a missed beat. This condition can develop at any time and does not affect a certain age group. Premature ventricular contractions may happen to a healthy person or an individual with heart problems. Although this issue is not life-threatening on its own, it can lead to other heart problems.
How to Diagnose Premature Ventricular Contractions
If you think that you are experiencing PVCs, it is best to visit your doctor. He or she will likely perform an electrocardiogram so that more serious conditions are ruled out. Since premature ventricular contractions are not constant, the issue may not be recorded at the time of the ECG. Therefore, it may be necessary to wear a Holter monitor for up to two days. During this period, your heartbeat is constantly monitored. You will be asked to log times when you believe that you are experiencing PVCs.
Treatments for PVCs
In most cases, treatments for premature ventricular contractions involve medicine and lifestyle changes. It has been uncovered that some lifestyle factors may be linked to PVCs. For instance, lowering stress and caffeine intake may decrease the amount of time that a person feels PVCs. Medicines like beta-blockers are helpful as well. When these treatment methods do not work, more invasive techniques may be necessary to stop the problem. A catheter ablation may be helpful.
The Latest Ablation Treatments for Premature Ventricular Contractions
During an ablation, a doctor uses a catheter with electrodes on it to measure heart’s electricity. It is fed from a vein to a person’s heart. First part is to map out where the abnormal signals are coming from. Subsequently, a different catheter is advanced to exact location where the PVC is starting and so it can be eliminated with the use of a radio-frequency wave. In other words, the spot is ablated, or destroyed. Today’s technology has made this procedure extremely safe and effective. Thanks to mapping techniques, a catheter provides a detailed picture of the heart. By using computer programs, it is possible to pinpoint the exact problem area so that everything can be resolved.
How Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants Can Help
At Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants, we use the latest medical technologies to make your heart healthier. When problems arise, our experienced staff will diagnose issues and will recommend the best course of action. We often use ablation to treat premature ventricular contractions. This outpatient service is just one procedure that can improve your heart’s function. For more information, contact us at 804-410-9749.