Ectopic heartbeats are small changes in a heartbeat that is otherwise normal. These changes lead to extra or skipped heartbeats. Usually their cause is not clear. They are mostly harmless.
Most common types:
- Premature atrial contractions (PAC)
- Premature ventricular contractions (PVC)
Who will be affected by Ectopic heartbeats?
The condition can happen to people of any age, whether they have an underlying heart condition or not.
It is considered that most people at least have one ectopic beat every day but most not being aware. Many changes in heart rate or rhythm are minor requiring no medical treatment if without other symptoms nor having a history of heart disease.
Are Ectopic heartbeats dangerous?
In short, for people in good health ectopic heartbeats are not dangerous. Should Ectopic heartbeats are associated with other symptoms of feeling unwell they should be checked.
Furthermore, people suffering coronary heart disease, they should report such changes in heart rhythm to their doctors.
Premature beats are the most common type of arrhythmia. They’re harmless most of the time and often don’t cause any symptoms.
When symptoms do occur, they usually feel like fluttering in the chest or a feeling of a skipped heartbeat. Most of the time, premature beats need no treatment, especially in healthy people.
Premature beats that occur in the atria (the heart’s upper chambers) are called premature atrial contractions, or PACs. Premature beats that occur in the ventricles (the heart’s lower chambers) are called premature ventricular contractions, or PVCs.
In most cases, premature beats happen naturally. However, some heart diseases can cause premature beats. They also can happen because of stress, too much exercise, or too much caffeine or nicotine.
When an arrhythmia is serious, you may need urgent treatment to restore a normal rhythm. This may include:
- Electrical “shock” therapy (defibrillation or cardioversion)
- Implanting a short-term heart pacemaker
- Medicines given through a vein (intravenous) or by mouth
Sometimes, better treatment for your angina or heart failure will lower your chance of having an arrhythmia.
Medicines called anti-arrhythmic drugs may be used:
- To prevent an arrhythmia from happening again
- To keep your heart rate from becoming too fast or too slow
Some of these medicines can have side effects. Take them as prescribed by your health care provider. Do not stop taking the medicine or change the dose without first talking to your health care provider.
Other treatments to prevent or treat abnormal heart rhythms include:
- Cardiac ablation, used to destroy areas in your heart that may be causing your heart rhythm problems
- An implantable cardiac defibrillator, placed in people who are at high risk of sudden cardiac death
- Pacemaker, a device that senses when your heart is beating irregularly, too slowly, or too fast. It sends a signal to your heart that makes your heart beat at the correct pace.