Premature Contractions (PVC & PAC)
Premature atrial contractions (PAC) and premature ventricular contractions (PVC) are among the most common forms of arrhythmias.
Both conditions are caused by premature electrical activation in your heart. This results in premature heart muscle contractions, which trigger extra heartbeats. These extra heartbeats disrupt your heart’s normal rhythm.
Both PAC and PVC are common, even in healthy people, and treatment of these conditions often isn’t needed. However, if your premature contractions are frequent, your doctor may suggest treatment.
Our Approach to Treating PAC & PVC
Our heart specialists are experts at detecting PAC and PVC, as well as determining whether treatment is required.
If treatment is needed, our experts work together to design and manage an effective care plan to treat your specific condition.
Often, PAC and PVC respond to lifestyle changes and medications. However, when these conditions don’t lessen in severity after initial treatment, our specialists are also experts in — a minimally invasive technique that can help prevent premature contractions.
PAC Vs. PCV: What’s the Difference?
Premature atrial contractions (PAC) result from premature electrical activation originating in the upper chambers (the atria) of your heart.
Premature ventricular contractions (PVC) result from premature electrical activation originating in the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of your heart.
Both conditions result in extra heartbeats. In addition, both PAC and PVC are common, occurring in many healthy people and rarely causing symptoms.
Causes of PAC & PVC
While it’s unclear what causes PAC and PVC, the following may reduce your likelihood of experiencing either of these conditions:
- Limiting caffeine intake, such as coffee, tea and energy drinks
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Quitting smoking, if you smoke
- Reducing stress and anxiety using relaxation techniques, such as yoga or deep breathing
In addition, PAC and PVC do seem to be more common among people with underlying heart disease, including a history of heart attack, as well as those with a family history of arrhythmias.
PAC & PVC Treatment
Both PAC and PVC can be detected during a physical examination and confirmed by an electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG), which is a recording of the electrical activity of the heart.
A Holter monitor may also be used to determine the severity of PACs and PVCs to help guide treatment.
If you’re experiencing frequent contractions, your doctor may recommend antiarrhythmic drugs, such as beta-blocker medications or calcium-channel blockers. Medications are typically sufficient for reducing symptoms, and serious treatment rarely is necessary.