Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC)
Premature ventricular contractions, more commonly known as PVCs are extra heartbeats that arise from one of the two bottom chambers of the heart (left or right ventricle). Because these are extra or skipped beats typically during a normal heart rhythm they may cause symptoms of palpitations or a fluttering feeling in the chest.
Signs and Symptoms:
In some cases individuals with PVCs may experience little or no symptoms. For those that are symptomatic, some typically symptoms include:
- Sensation of rapid, fluttering or pounding heartbeats (palpitations)
- Chest discomfort
- Difficulty breathing
- Exercise intolerance
Your doctor or health care team may refer you to a pediatric electrophysiologist (EP) or someone who specializes in children with heart rhythm disorders. Your EP team may use one or multiple tools to help diagnose PVCs and or the frequency of PVCs. These could include but not limited to:
- Holter monitor
- Event monitor
- Exercise stress test
- Implantable loop recorder
- Smartwatch or other wearable cardiac monitoring devices
Many individuals with PVCs will not require treatment. For those that do require treatment this may be in the form of medications, lifestyle modifications, and or catheter ablation.
Your EP team may prescribe medication for treatment. Medication is not a cure but can decrease the number or frequency of episodes which can help to control symptoms. In most cases, these medications are taken daily.
Understanding common triggers for PVCs and eliminating these triggers through lifestyle modifications can prevent or decrease the frequency of PVCs.
EP study and catheter ablation
An EP study and catheter ablation can be curative procedure for PVCs depending on the type of PVCs an individual may have.
Typically, children and adolescents with PVCs do not have activity restrictions but understanding what triggers an individual’s frequency of PVCs like diet, exercise, or other medical issues can help avoid further episodes.