A cardiologist offers a simple explanation for why PVCs can cause some people to cough.

PVC stands for premature ventricular contraction, and some people can’t help but cough after having one of these episodes.

The coughing is usually just a single or double, and all it takes is just one PVC to trigger this.

“You may cough due to the phenomenon of post-PVC beat where the heart has a stronger contraction after a PVC, and this can irritate the diaphragm or phrenic nerve and cause cough,” explains Dr. Sameer Sayeed, MD, a cardiologist at ColumbiaDoctors of Somers, NY.

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The phrenic nerves (a pair) come down from the cervical area of the spinal cord and control breathing by innervating the diaphragm.

Both phrenic nerves pass very closely to the heart.

It’s also possible, though less likely than the explanation above, that the cough is triggered by sudden anxiety over feeling a “skipped heartbeat.”

Dr. Sayeed performs echocardiograms and stress tests at the Midtown Manhattan and Westchester offices at Columbia Doctors. He is also trained in cardiac CT imaging.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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