What Does a PVC Heart Beat Feel LIke

A lot of people experience PVC heart beats and then get very stressed out because they want to know exactly what they are feeling. These ectopic beats can feel very strange to some people, while others don't feel them at all.

We'll look at a typical EKG strips of a PVC heart beat and explain what is going on when you experience a PVC heart beat.


Normal Heart Beat

Here is a picture of a normal heart beat without any PVC's occurring. You can see even spacing between the beats and a consistent rhythm.

PVC Heart Beat

Here is a picture of what a PVC looks like during a heart beat.

You can see that the PVC beat is very different from a normal beat. It comes a little bit early, doesn't look at all the same, and is followed by a long compensatory pause.

Animated PVC Heart Beat

Here's an animation of a PVC heart beat vs a normal heart beat that helps show the difference.

Something that is worth noting is that the normal heart beats are the same difference apart when you have a PVC heart beat. The PVC isn't a skipped or missed beat. It sure feels like one, though.

What Does A PVC Heart Beat Feel Like

Looking at the image above let's talk about what it feels like when you experience a PVC heart beat.

Usually you are not aware of your heart beat. Some times you can feel it if you've been working out or if you are laying down, but most of the time you are not aware of it. When a PVC happens the first thing you feel is a little bump or thumb that is out of place. That's the large weird looking wave on the picture above and is your lower heart, or ventricals, contracting early.

After the out of place ventrical contraction there is a longer than normal "compensatory pause", which is the slightly longer line after the PVC. This feels like your heart has stopped or like a missed beat. For many people it has a sense of dread to it which makes them think, "Heart attack!" It's not a heart attack, but it sure feels like it should be.

After the compensatory beat your heart goes back to it's normal rhythm. However, since the PVC beat wasn't very efficient the first beat of the normal rhythm is normally slightly harder or stronger than most of your heart beats. This can feel pretty strong for some people. If you have a lot of PVCs in a row this make up beat can start to hurt a little.