A premature ventricular beat (PVB) is an extra heartbeat. It starts in the lower heart chambers before a normal heartbeat. A PVB interrupts the heart’s normal rhythm. It causes a pause before the next heartbeat.
PVBs are common. In healthy people they are harmless. However, after a heart attack or heart surgery, PVBs can lead to harmful heart rhythms.
Anatomy of the Heart
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PVBs happen when normal heart signals are disrupted. It is not always clear why this happens. Certain health conditions and drugs can cause PVBs.
Risk factors for PVBs are:
In many cases, there are no symptoms. When symptoms happen, they may be:
In people with heart disease, PVBs can cause lightheadedness and fainting.
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Diagnosis may be based on symptoms and tests.
Tests may include:
Other tests may be done to look for causes.
Many people do not need treatment for PVBs. It depends on how severe the symptoms are. It also depends on if a person has other heart problems.
Options may be:
Some have worse symptoms or heart problems. They may need medicines to adjust the heart signals, such as:
There are no guidelines to prevent PVBs. It may help to:
American Heart Association
Heart Rhythm Society
Canadian Heart Rhythm Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Marcus GM. Evaluation and management of premature ventricular complexes. Circulation. 2020;141(17):1404-1418.
Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/premature-ventricular-contractions-pvcs. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Understanding premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). Saint Luke's website. Available at: https://www.saintlukeskc.org/health-library/understanding-premature-ventricular-contractions-pvcs. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Ventricular premature beats (VPB). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/arrhythmias-and-conduction-disorders/ventricular-premature-beats-vpb. Accessed September 13, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated: 9/13/2021