PVC stands for premature ventricular contraction.
It creates the illusion of an extra heartbeat, especially if there are two or three in a row.
And sometimes, it feels as though the heart has skipped a beat. This makes some people believe they’re about to have a heart attack.
Frequent premature contractions can produce tremendous anxiety.
“A PVC is a premature ventricular contraction, which means the beat is originating in the ventricle, not the atria (normal site of origin),” explains Yaser Elnahar, MD, a cardiologist with Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates in NJ.
“Rare [occasional] PVC’s are very common and are not dangerous.
“Frequent PVC’s or runs of PVC’s can be very dangerous or even fatal when it becomes ventricular tachycardia.
“If a person has frequent premature ventricular contractions or runs of PVC’s, the cardiologist usually tries to make sure there are no blocked arteries as the cause. If the arteries are fine then we look for other causes.”
Below are links to articles about PVCs with answers from cardiologists.
Dr. Elnahar has publications in the Journal of Atrial Fibrillation, the Journal of Clinical Medicine and Research, Reports in Medical Imaging, and more.
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.