Table of Contents
Definition of Premature Ventricular Contraction
They may occur spontaneously, without apparent cause, and are most noticeable at rest or following strenuous exercise.
Caffeine, pseudoephedrine (a vasoconstrictor and stimulant common in cold and allergy products), nicotine (tobacco), and anxiety (stress) may also cause premature ventricular contractions.
PVCs require a doctor’s evaluation when they occur
- Repeatedly over a period of time rather than in isolation
- With chest pain or discomfort
- With lightheadedness, dizziness, or syncope (fainting)
Occasionally PVCs can trigger a more serious arrhythmia such as ventricular tachycardia.
An electrocardiogram (ecg) can identify PVCs. Because PVCs tend to be intermittent, the doctor may use a Holter monitor ECG, which records the heart’s electrical activity over a period of 24 hours.
Unless PVCs indicate a serious underlying arrhythmia, cardiologists usually do not treat them. Often, eliminating potential causes such as caffeine can put an end to the PVCs. The cardiologist may prescribe a beta blocker for persistent PVCs, after ruling out other cardiovascular conditions.