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Friday, November 16, 2012

Premature Ventricular Contractions Insights

I had a supraventricular (SVT) episode that prompted a call to the paramedics and a ride in an ambulance to the hospital on October 5th.  Since that day, I've had two or three days where I've had nasty runs of Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC).

 I have suffered from PVC's since I was 30 years old and I am now 46.  Even though I have complained about these irregular heartbeats many times to my family practice doctors and my heart doctor over the years, they were never able to catch them on a monitor, even when I wore a 30 day monitor.  Finally, they were detected by nurses in the recovery room after my gallbladder surgery on September 14th of this year.

In all, over the last 18 months I've had three SVT's (supraventricular) episodes where my heart rate has gone up to 160 beats per minute, and numerous runs of PVC's.

Both of these types of arrhythmias are harmless in a structurally sound heart.  Luckily, I have had two ultrasounds on my heart and my heart is noted to be structurally sound. Due to this,  I try not to worry when these episodes occur, but I have to admit they are still unnerving at the very least, and from others that I have read about in PVC forums on the Internet, they say the same.  They don't produce chest pains, but they are uncomfortable and very distracting.

I had an ER doctor tell me once that his best friend, who is a surgeon, frequently gets these during surgery and they distract him from his work.  Yikes!

I have been paying special attention to the conditions my body is in when these episodes occur, and I think I have finally discovered a trend.  In all cases, they have occurred after a day of hard labor, i.e. cleaning the church building, moving furniture around, lots of running around town, painting a house, anything that will cause me to sweat a lot.

In all cases, I have experienced some sort of deprivation within 24 hours of the episodes, whether it be sleep, nutrition, or electrolytes (caused by being glutened).

I certainly blame my prone-ness to PVC's on my celiac's disease because so many of my episodes have been related to being glutened and the diarrhea episodes that follow.

I'm excited today, though, because I think I have learned this past month that I can put an end to the PVC run by drinking 40 oz. of water, taking a magnesium pill, and eating a banana.  I have tried this routine the past month twice, and it worked both times to my great relief.

This leads me to believe that my trigger for arrhythmia is either dehydration, and/or an electrolyte imbalance. Now, I will say that I have been to Urgent Care and the ER numerous times with heart arrhythmia complaints, and each time they have tested me for dehydration and none has been noted.  However, they always test me after I've had an I.V. inserted, or I've already attempted to rehydrate myself.

 I'm excited about this new revelation because I can now test it out overtime, and if it works everytime, then I will know what conditions lay the groundwork for an arrhythmia, and I can do my best to avoid those conditions.

For anyone that has these and is concerned, I have been told personally by numerous doctors, and even while they were watching them happen on a monitor right after my gallbladder surgery, that both the PVC's and the SVT's are harmless, and will not kill me.

I have to keep telling myself that and it brings me great comfort, because before I got this information from several different sources I was nearly driven out of my mind when they runs would occur.  Then my adrenaline would shoot up, and that would make the arrhythmia even worse.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could find the water/Mg/banana  treatment to be consistent in stopping the arrhythmia?  Maybe I could train my heart to behave itself.

I know that PVC's are very common, so I'll keep posting my study on myself about rehydration and electrolyte balance as time goes on.  I would love it if anyone else reading this post, who also suffers from benign heart arrhythmias could post their experiences and what they have learned about them.

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