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Forum Name: Arrhythmias

Question: Noticed PVC on educational ECG - Worth extra tests?


 grumpy_mr_gruff - Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:26 pm

I'm a teaching assistant for a college physio lab and decided to take an ECG for fun during some downtime in lab. I noticed an arrhythmia (pvc.jpg" class="postlink">trace from right arm/left leg lead) and a quick Google led me to the PVC wiki entry.

In this case it's asymptomatic. I've never felt palpatations/skipped beats and never would've known if not for the ECG. I am in my mid-twenties, overweight, and have high blood pressure - this makes me think that further examination might be a good idea.

My questions are these: Is it worthwhile to schedule an appointment with a general practitioner or cardiologist? If so, how urgent is this appointment? I will be traveling for the holidays soon and could have tests done at a lower cost while there.

Thanks in advance for your replies and thanks for putting up with yet another PVC question.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:53 pm

User avatar Hi there -- An appointment based upon a single PVC -- let alone the sometimes hundreds or, yes, thousands found on the 24 hour monitor recordings of perfectly healthy people -- no, it wouldn't be worth the time, expense, trouble, etc., even if there were awareness of occasional premature beats. See, these have no prognostic nor diagnostic usefulness at all, they occur in almost everyone at some time or another, and it was just blind luck one showed up on your very random EKG (I've had this happen while being the "dummy" in elecrtocardiography classes and am always amused by the concerns expressed).

That being said, obesity and high blood pressure are very good reasons to at least be followed on a regular basis, to have an exercise and diet regimen prescribed, and possibly to be taking something to help control the elevated BP (depending on just how high it is and how often). These are risk factors that are quantifiable. PVCs are not, really, although they can be recognized and sometimes do serve to bring someone's attention to some other issue (obesity, high blood pressure, for two examples) even though they have no significance of their own.

It may have been fortuitous you did the one-lead EKG, if only to get you in to see a doctor who will help you work on known issues that can be managed now while you're still young and before there is a real problem.

Good luck to you. Follow up with us here as needed.

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