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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Arrhythmias

Question: PVC's and Brugada Syndrome

 Bigcountry - Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:20 pm

My brother died when I was 16 and he was 18! He died in his sleep. That was 1990 about 5 or 6 years ago my oldest sister started having heart problems which eventually was found out to be Brugada Syndrome. They said this must have been what happened to my brother. My sister then had a defibrillator put in and has had it shock her a couple of times but she is doing well! Since Brugada Syndrome is hereditary they started testing the rest of my family! They started with my mother and she has it so they figured that is where it started! She now has a defibrillator. Then they tested my little sister and she has it so she now has a defibrillator. They then tested my other sister and she does not have it! Then they started looking at me. I was terrified to be tested because I didnt want a defibrillator and I noticed that I started having PVC"s (most likely because of all the stress..just started new job, had a pregnant wife and 3 people in my family just had a defibrillator put in)...I was so scared to get tested and finally my mom talked me into it! I had a Procainamide Drip, MRI of the Heart, 2 week holter, echo, stress test....just about everything you can imagine and they found no evidence of Brugada Syndrome. So that was the good part, however ever since then I have had these darn PVC's and they scare the heck out of me. My doctor told me that they have nothing to do with Brugada and to go live a normal life, but with my family history I still think that one of these PVC's is all of a sudden going to turn into Brugada and I will drop right there?

I don't really know what my question is other than how do I learn to live with these PVC's as just PVC's rather than something that will lead to Brugada.

I have been stressed ever since, I was on Lexapro but hate using drugs so I am not on anything now and take the once in awhile Xanax if I am having a really bad PVC day! I know there is a direct link to my level of stress and my PVC's but I am still having a hard time believing that I am not going to drop dead!

Any advice or info would help.


 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 am

User avatar Hi Jamie,

First, congratulations on NOT having Brugada's. While it was very important to rule this out, you don't have it, and not everyone in a family will get it. In fact, that's a pretty large per centage who did. But you didn't, so now comes the difficult part, because we all get PVCs from time to time, and many of us feel them. They are, as your doctor has pointed out, unrelated to Brugada's syndrome, and they are not diagnostic nor prognostic of anything. They are, as you know, increased by stress, as well as by digestion, winding down at night, gas, stomach upsets, caffeine, nicotine, alchohol, and a ton of other common and harmless things. It's an awful thing, psychologically, to have to deal with , but in time it will hopefully start to seem more like background noise to you as you realize these things will not do anything to you. It's far more complicated, cognitively, because of what you know about your family history, but you dodged the bullet, so you might want to consider a brief course of both cognitive therapy and psychoanalysis, to try and help yourself get on the right side of this. I'd normally recommend cognitive therapy to a lot of people who suffer from PVC-induced anxiety, but you've actually been traumatized by events around you, and it may be more difficult for you to let go of this on your own. If so, by all means find someone who can help you talk your way through this. But what I can tell you is that PVCs are unrelated to Brugada's, they are actually normal, and they tend to come and go.

I really hope this is helfpul. It's an unusual situation you're in, and you ought to take advantage of any help available, as this has probably been more traumatic for you than even you realize. Best of luck to you and please follow up with us here as needed.
 Bigcountry - Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:16 pm

John, Thanks so much for your reply! It has definitely been a rough road for me and my family! It is very helpful to be reassured that PVC's are not related to Brugada Syndrome. I have been very stressed for years regarding my PVCs and am working very hard on retraining my brain and I know this takes time. I have also started taking Fish Oil pills that seem to take the edge off of the PVCs.

Thanks for your time.

 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:32 pm

User avatar Hi Jamie,

You're very welcome and I'm so glad you're making progress with this. It's difficult enough for people to just deal with PVCs, even though they are basically "normal", but it has to be especially difficult having had the terrible trauma and loss and family history as well. Still, you're doing great with this. I'm very impressed and am confident you'll retrain yourself to reduce your emotional reaction to these events which are bothersome enough in the best of circumstances. The fish oil has some very positive, if anecdotal, evidence going for it, and if it seems to help it certainly won't do any harm.

Thanks so much for the followup. I'm really happy to hear your doing so well. I hope you and your family will manage to adjust to this challenge. Please do stay in touch.
 Bigcountry - Thu May 07, 2009 12:53 pm

Thanks so much! I go back and forth on doing well and coping (which is funny to me sometimes because I use the word coping for a benign heart condition??) Overall I don't really find this funny...but ever since your response regarding PVC's and the fact there is no relationship between the two I have noticed my anxiety reduce dramatically and I use the words that you used "but in time it will hopefully start to seem more like background noise to you as you realize these things will not do anything to you" back ground noise is what I repeat over and over because before your response everytime my PVC's hit or I had a fast heartbeart I was just waiting to drop dead....This wears on you very quickly and I have been like this for years!

I am really do well lately until I am just sitting at my desk and then all of a sudden my heart will just start galloping for 2-3 seconds and then back to normal.....those still scare me to death and then my mind is back on my heart for a while! Can you help my understand why all of a sudden the heart will just start flip flopping or racing at no uncertain times or I will get a couple of PVC's in a row? I am sure it happens to everyone but I am so tuned into my heart that I immediately notice this sudden change in rythym and I get scared to death??
 Bigcountry - Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:41 am

John, I went in to see my cardiologist about an increase in my PVCs. He is doing another 48 hour holter and a stress test this week but says he doesnt see anything life threatening and doesnt expect to see anything different on the holter or stress test because of my test last May! He did say that he would be willing to do an ablation on me and that my PVCs are the type most commonly seen and come from an area of the heart that is easy to ablate (not his exact words but was just letting me know I have the most common type of PVCS etc) I told him that when we had this talk last year that he said he wasnt willing to do an ablation on me and he said that was because then it wasnt affecting the quality of my life and now that I have daily anxiety etc that he would do it for me......I asked him what he thought his success rate would be and he said his is better than 70%. So iguess my questions are...This is a benign condition that is only in my head, do you think I should consider such a drastic elective surgery? What do you think of ablation? You said you have PVCs....would you ever consider an ablation for your PVCs? Is there anything else you can add to this discussion about ablations or what you know of PVCs?

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