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Why am I getting ectopic heart beats?

Q: I was diagnosed with frequent atrial and ventricular ectopic heart beats which are symptomatic, through an ECG during my last pregnancy, 1 year ago. They became less severe and I forgot that I had them. But they came back this year. My doctor said that there is nothing to worry about, unless they are frequent. When they occur, they occur every few heartbeats for hours. They also occur after exercising, which concerns me. My doctor hasn't referred me to a specialist. Please advise.

A:Ectopic beats - atrial and ventricular, are seen often in normal people. Anybody getting these beats frequently needs an evaluation to rule out underlying structural heart disease. Echocardiography is a very good investigation to examine the heart valves and the pumping chambers (left and right ventricles) of the heart. Exercise test is also a good test in individuals more than 30 years of age to see its relationship and frequency with effort and also to look for any ischaemic changes. In individuals with normal heart, these beats are very innocuous and do not need any medication. However, if the beats are producing significant and disabling symptoms like prolonged bouts of palpitation with or without dizziness, it is advisable to have a consultation with a cardiologist. There are safe methods to treat them in such situations.


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