What Are Premature Ventricular Contractions, or Extra Heartbeats?
Premature ventricular contractions are also known as PVCs or PVBs (for premature ventricular beats). They are early contractions that occur when the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart) contract out of sequence with normal heart rhythm. Although they are generally harmless and usually do not require treatment, PVCs may trigger more serious arrhythmias in people with heart disease or a history of ventricular tachycardia.
PVCs are usually harmless and can be caused by things like caffeine and alcohol.
What are the symptoms of PVCs?
Premature ventricular contractions often cause no symptoms. But you may feel these sensations in your chest:
- Pounding or jumping
- Skipped beats or missed beats
- Increased awareness of your heartbeat
Possible causes of PVC include:
PVCs most often occur spontaneously; however, they can also be triggered by:
- Medications (especially decongestants)
- Certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, anemia, hypertension and stress
Learn about common treatments for premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).