i'm a 33 yr-old female, non-smoker, non-drinker, 5'8", 145lbs. My normal resting heart rate is 55 - 60 bmp. For the past 3 months I have been experiencing (what I perceive as) bradycardia, where my detectable heart rate is about 30 bpm. Episodes would last anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes with a steady slow, strong beat. The would end abruptly, and my heart beat would return to a normal rate with no palpitations. Episodes occur up to 20 times a day, sometimes at rest, but most often are induced with a very small amount of exertion (like getting up from a chair and walking across the room). I notice them because they occur with strong palpitations, and are often accompanied by shortness of breath, lightheadedness and/or chest tightness. My exercise tolerance has been greatly reduced. Going up the stairs seems like considerable effort. I visited my gp, where an episode occured in the office while she was listening to my heart and taking my pulse. She also confirmed a pulse of 30 bpm, but heard possible multiple beats in the stethoscope that weren't detectable in the pulse (nor could I feel them in my chest). Her first worry was av block, and I was referred to a cardiologist. After a normal 24-hour holter (no episodes) and echocardiogram, I had a 2 week loop test, after which the cardiologist told me I was simply having benign ectopic beats, and not to worry, as my symptoms weren't related to a serious heart condition. I was advised to reduce stress and get some exercise. I asked him why it appeared to be bradycardia with these "extra beats", but he didn't really explain very well.

I have since started taking effexor to reduce anxiety/stress, which seems to have helped with my mental and emotional balance. Before these episodes started, I was mildly active, but only in the summers, playing soccer for 2-3 hours a week. Now i'm leary of exercise, as I become symptomatic with exertion, and the episodes often occur as soon as I start to recover from exercise.

Here are my questions:

1) can ectopic beats/pvcs/pacs present as bradycardia? I've been trying to research this, but I can't seem to find anything.

2) why would "extra" beats present as fewer beats (bradycardia)? Why would I only feel a few of them? As I said, my cardiologist's was vague at best.

3) should I get a second opinion or am I still worried without cause?

Thanks for your time,
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replied February 8th, 2006
Hi alisonh

my wife had an arrithmia attack a few days ago. When I walked in and saw her, her face was white, she was having trouble catching her breath, her heart was beating extremely fast and strong which you could feel through her chest and was irregular. She had a pain in her throat and was very light headed and her arms were weak. We have a blood pressure monitor at home and it couldn't take a reading for at first, when it could it recorded 180/160!

I got her into the doctors within 40 mins as she refused an ambulance. He took her blood pressure and checked her pulse etc and calmly stated that she has a ectopic beat. She went on a heart monitor to take a reading and the ectopic beat was on there as well.

He just said take it easy and took to me to the side and said if it happens again call an ambulance.

Since this episode her heart beat is between 30/50 bpm, she has trouble catching her breath going up and down the stairs. She can feel the abnormal beat a lot now. I'm taking her back to the doctors tomorrow and am asking to be referred to cardiologist.

I came across this site that seems quite good on information:


i'm stressing out over this so would appreciate any comments/help with this problem.
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replied March 19th, 2011
Ectopic Heart Beats
Hello, i have read in a article about these abnormal heart beats. They are named ECTOPIC BEATS, ectopis beat or Cardiac ectopy is an irregular beat arising in the heart due to variations in the electrical conductance system of the heart. They are generally harmless and occurs without any cause. It is common in adults and is it occurs frequently, an examination should be done, even if no further treatment is prescribed .
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