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Cardiology Arrhythmias

Premature complexes is a condition that can occasionally cause an irregular heartbeat. This condition may manifest at random or in predictable patterns. It is an abnormal and wide QRS complex (Q wave, R wave and S wave) occurring earlier than expected in the cardiac cycle.

How to Recognize a Ventricular Premature Complex

One may not notice any symptoms when experiencing premature complexes. However, if symptoms are noticeable, he/she may feel like the heart is fluttering, or heavily pounding in the chest. It could also feel like the heart is beating faster, skipping a beat.

A person’s heart’s capacity to pump blood effectively may be reduced if he/she experiences premature complexes frequently or for an extended period of time. Additional symptoms that may result from this include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness

Causes of Ventricular Premature Complexes

Even though ventricular premature complexes are frequently observed, their exact cause is not yet known. Ventricular premature complexes may be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Increased anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Consumption of caffeine
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • High blood pressure
  • Congenital heart problems

Risk Factors Ventricular Premature Complexes

Some of the factors that may put one at risk of ventricular premature complexes include:

  • Age: The condition is more common in people over the age of 50
  • Heart disease
  • A family history of cardiac issues

Diagnosis of Ventricular Premature Complexes

The diagnosis of ventricular premature complexes is considered challenging. The doctor may not notice these abnormal heartbeats during the examination if they occur at random. Therefore, the doctor may order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis. The tests may include:

  • Electrocardiogram: It is used to measure and record the electrical impulses that control the heart.
  • Holter monitor/ambulatory EKG: The patient will be required to wear the monitor on the neck for a few days as he/she goes on with everyday activities. The test will reveal to the doctor if the patient has a significant arrhythmia and what type.
  • Event monitor: This is a small device that one wears for a period of time which can be turned on in the event one feels something abnormal.
  • Echocardiogram: This is a painless ultrasound examination that uses sound waves to create an image of the inside of the heart both during and in between beats. It may identify issues with blood flow or heart muscle injury.
  • Coronary angiography: During this test, a catheter is inserted in the groin or arm and then carefully manoeuvred until it is inside the heart. The doctor is then able to see how the heart is pumping blood by pumping a contrast dye into the catheter and monitoring it with X-ray images.

Treatment of Ventricular Premature Complexes

The treatment for ventricular premature complexes is dependent on the patient’s overall health and the cause of the condition. Treatment options include:

Medication: The doctor may recommend certain medications if the patient’s ventricular premature complexes are caused by underlying health conditions.

Ablation: This is a procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to destroy damaged heart tissue that cause extra heartbeats. The procedure is used as a treatment option when medication haven’t worked.

Lifestyle changes: One may not require any treatment if his/her heart is healthy and doesn’t have any underlying heart condition. Simply staying away from stimulants like caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can be of great benefit. Learning techniques for managing stress and anxiety can also help.

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