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Extra heartbeats in teenager

(51 Posts)
BerrySmoothie Thu 21-Sep-17 14:15:52

My 17 yr old dd's 24 hr ECG results have come back and the doctor called to say it showed lots of extra beats. I was in shock so didn't get to ask questions. All I asked was what else did it show and are the extra beats dangerous. Doctor said apart from extra beats, the ECG did not show anything and no, it's not dangerous. Our appt with the doctor is not until tomorrow in which I will find out more. But in the meantime, I'm extremely worried. Anyone's children has extra heartbeats but nothing to worry about? Some of my dd's symptoms are fast heartbeats, lightheaded and breathless. Please, please reassure me.

SandunesAndRainclouds Thu 21-Sep-17 14:18:07

One of my DDs had ectopic beats at around 9yo. It was never really worked out why - the cardiologist thought it was likely to do with a growth spurt and the heart's electrics changing : developing too. It resolved itself and hasn't been a problem since.

Hope you get good news at your appointment.

Godstopper Thu 21-Sep-17 14:20:56

I have had PVC's/PAC's since my early teens at least. I'm still fit and healthy twenty years later! They are only worrisome if they are greater than approx. 20% of heartbeats (as in, 15-20,000 per day) and/or co-occur with other condition. In the former case, medication might calm them or you can have an ablation.

They still disturb me at times - especially the runs of multiple ones together - but everything has checked out, and I trust what I'm told smile

BerrySmoothie Thu 21-Sep-17 14:28:08

Will my did need more tests to make sure the extra beats are benign? Does the ECG show if the extra beats are benign?

Godstopper Thu 21-Sep-17 14:45:53

ECG is just a snapshot, but it should rule out more serious conditions. ECG measures the electrical goings on, but chances are, your son will need an Echo to check there is nothing structural going on that may be causing it (e.g. mitral valve prolapse is v.v. common and cause ectopics).

The extra beats themselves are not dangerous. The investigations are to rule out anything more worrisome that may be causing them (and there is unlikely to be anything significant - these things can even be caused by low vitamins/electrolytes, or in my case, ferritin).

BerrySmoothie Thu 21-Sep-17 15:06:39

My dd's U&E and other blood tests are all normal. I called the doctor for more info and he said ECG showed PVC. Is this harmless?

BerrySmoothie Thu 21-Sep-17 18:32:31

Is PVC harmless? Doctor sounded unconcerned on the phone saying everyone get ectopic beats and nothing to worry about.

BerrySmoothie Thu 21-Sep-17 20:02:12


Kipperiscool Thu 21-Sep-17 20:10:01

Doc here. They are harmless, if annoying. I tell people they are like heart hiccups. If everything else is normal, then all is well.
Does she smoke or drink too much caffeine? Stopping both may help.

BerrySmoothie Thu 21-Sep-17 20:37:39

Kipperiscool, my dd doesn't smoke and she has cut down on caffeine. Are there any food/drink/vitamins that can prevent ectopic beats? Google tells me purple grape juice helps? If ECG shows ectopic beats but nothing else, do I assume they are benign or my dd will need more tests?

sukitea Thu 21-Sep-17 20:49:47

I have this, I am reassured that it is harmless but the breathlessness sometimes is very tiring. Drinking instant coffee for me is a definite trigger. I now take a very low dose beta blocker which helps.

BerrySmoothie Thu 21-Sep-17 21:45:34

It's reassuring to hear ectopic beats are harmless. Please explain if PVC is harmless too or something to be concerned?

Glitteryfrog Thu 21-Sep-17 21:52:32

Echo to check there is nothing structural going on that may be causing it (e.g. mitral valve prolapse is v.v. common and cause ectopics).

An echo is the most interesting medical procedure I've had. You watch your heart beat and can see the blood flow.
I had mine about 15 years ago (When I was about 17) the technology must have developed and be even clearer now.

Bookaboo Thu 21-Sep-17 22:24:37

I've been investigated for something similar. PVC = premature ventricular contraction - it's the medical term for the extra beat.

BerrySmoothie Fri 22-Sep-17 07:27:05

Bookaboo, what tests did you have and are you on any treatments?

BerrySmoothie Fri 22-Sep-17 11:50:06

ECG shows approx 2 - 3 PVC ectopic beats per minute and my dd's heart beat was regular throughout the 24 hr period. We're now waiting for an echo.

SeaToSki Fri 22-Sep-17 12:14:59

Exra beats are something that loads of prople have but not many notice. Like a pp said its all about how many you have, not that you have them. Why did you do a 24 hr monitor to start with? Does she have any other symptoms?

In terms of more tests, an echocardiogram would be very useful as it shows the heart as it beats and they can see anything that is structurally wrong. If her heart is structurally fine, then the extra beats will probably being caused by an electrical irregularity in her heart. I have been living with mine for 30 years without it getting to be a problem with day to day life. Its something that she will have to keep an eye on, but if she doesnt have other symptoms and her echo is normal, then they will probably say its benign.

If she has other symptoms, like dizziness, breathlessness, swollen ankles, fainting, rapid heart rate, then you should keep pushing at the doctors and insit on an echo and also ask for another 24 hr monitor to see if there is anything else going on as it is notoriously difficult to pick up heart arrythmias as they can come on at random times.

If she does have other arrythmias then ask to see a cardiac electrophysiologist, they can do studies and perform ablations to limit some arrhythmias

You can buy a little device on Amazon called Kardia. Its a sensor that you stick on the back of your phone and then you download the app. It allows you to do a basic ECG whenever you want to, it then gives you a basic read of any arrythmias and you can email it to your cardiologist. Its wonderful for catching arrythmia as its so difficult to get to a doctor to have it recorded 'on the fly'. Its also great for peace of mind as you can sometimes feel funny, so do a recording, and then see that your heart is beating normally.

BerrySmoothie Fri 22-Sep-17 12:36:02

My dd has had a 24 hr ECG because last month she was getting episodes of fast heart beats which the doctors put down to anxiety. We also been to A&E twice and had two ECGs which came back normal. All blood tests normal too. My dd's symptoms with the fast heart beat episodes were lightheaded for a few seconds prior to the start of fast heart beats and feeling slightly short of breath. Her blood pressure is on the lowish side.

BerrySmoothie Fri 22-Sep-17 12:42:40

Maybe I should ask for another 24 hr ECG? But doctor didn't seem concerned at all.

Synecdoche Fri 22-Sep-17 12:43:24

Do her episodes of tachycardia happen when she changes position (ie from sitting to standing or lying down to sitting)?

BerrySmoothie Fri 22-Sep-17 12:47:49

Synecdoche, no. Last time it happened she was sitting quietly.

The 24 hr ECG shows that her heart was beating at 80 bpm at home, 60 bpm when asleep but went up to 100 bpm at school. She doesn't like school that much so it does look a bit like anxiety when her heart was beating fast.

BerrySmoothie Fri 22-Sep-17 12:49:25

Seatosky, what symptoms you're getting and what tests have been done?

BerrySmoothie Fri 22-Sep-17 12:50:10

Sorry, SeaToSki not sky.

SeaToSki Fri 22-Sep-17 12:55:39

The fast heart beat is tachycardia, it could be a problem, and it could be benign. They only way to tell is to capture it on a recording.

If she is feeling lightheaded and fainty when it happens, then I would suggest you keep pushing at the doctors to get an echocardiogram, another 24 hour monitor and ask them about the Kardia. I hope at this point you are seeing cardiologists and not dealing with your GP.

Please ignore them saying its anxiety, it is almost certainly not. Do the episodes of fast hear rate coincide with any activity level? Pre or post exercise? What is her caffeine intake like, her sleep like. Is she stressed at school (if stress causes tachycardia, it does not mean its anxiety). I only ask as if you can figure out what might cause an attack, you can try and bring one on while she is wearing the monitor.

When she is having an attack, how long does it last for?

Does it just stop suddenly, or wind down? Is there anything you notice that makes it stop?

Synecdoche Fri 22-Sep-17 12:56:54

Is her HR of 100bpm sustained for a long time/throughout her time at school or does it jump up and down?

I second seatoski's suggestion of a an echocardiogram for your piece of mind.

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