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Causes of Skipped Heartbeats

Updated on August 3, 2009

The sensation of the heart skipping a beat is known medically as an extrasystol or premature ventricular complexes. Basically, these consist of extra electrical impulses that stand out because they are abnormal. Such extra impulses derive usually from the ventricles, affecting in predominance the left ventricle.

Experiencing such sudden ''jolts'' may be quite scary at times, especially when they start out of the blue. Patients often rush to their doctors and even emergency rooms, very worried expecting to hear something terrible. However, more likely than not, often such palpitations are benign. In any case, a doctor visit is in order so to rule out any underlying heart conditions.

  • Symptoms

There are cases of premature ventricular complexes, where the affected patient has no awareness of them. These are usually casually discovered by patients undergoing an electrocardiogram. However, on the other hand there are some that actually feel them and describe them as ''skipped heart beats''.

  • Diagnosis

Such extra heart beats can be easily detected by an electro-cardiogram (ECG). If nothing shoes up on the ECG the patient may be requested to wear a Holter monitor so to monitor the heart carefully for the next 24 hours. A stress test is sometimes recommended as an additional test.

  • Causes

When it comes to premature ventricular complexes, there are some dangerous forms and some benign. Usually the dangerous premature ventricular complexes are linked to people having an underlying heart disease such as cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease. However, more often than not, such palpitations are benign and found in healthy individuals. Potential causes of benignpalpitaions may be linked to the the following:




-electrolyte imbalances

-lack of sleep

-alcohol consumption

- nicotine use

Often by taking care of the above issues, patients may notice significant improvement.

  • Treatment

While years ago, doctors deemed premature ventricular complexes as dangerous, and therefore prescribed medications to suppress them, nowadays there have been some changes in the way they are treated.

Anti-arrhythmics have been found to not be much effective in controlling premature ventricular complexes and also are not recommended because they are among the most toxic drugs used in medicine.

Cutting off on caffeine and smoke may help reduce the occurrence of premature ventricular complexes in some cases. Beta blockers may be helpful because of their ability to reduce the effect of adrenaline.

People presenting premature ventricular complexes should be evaluated by a doctor to rule out underlying heart disease such ascardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease.

Disclaimer; the above article is for educational purposes only. It is not to replace the professional advice of your doctor. Should you develop arrythmias please refer to your doctor for proper assessment and treatment.


Some natural remedies

Bugleweed Tincture 2 Oz
Bugleweed Tincture 2 Oz

Bugleweed is a mild narcotic similar to digitalis. For hyperthyroidism, aches and pains, heart palpitations, lack of appetite.



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    • profile image

      Darvocet Lawsuit 

      7 years ago

      I will definitely share this with my doctor regarding my arrythmnia and will see what his take on this one would be. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What an interesting take you have on this subject. I've hard arrhythmia most of my life, but have never been too concerned about it.


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