What is a PVC Heart Beat

In order to get an idea of what is happening when you experience a PVC heart beat we need to talk briefly about the anatomy of the heart.

Your heart is made up 3 major sections; the top is called the atrium, the bottom is the ventricles, and the sinus node which is located up top near the atrium. In the image below the sinus node is represented by a stopwatch.

Normal Heart Beat

In a normal heart beat the signal to beat originates in the sinus node. The sinus node is the hearts pacemaker, peace keeper, and general good rhythm maker. The sinus node generates the electrical impulse which travels across the heart from the top to the bottom and causes it to contract.

PVC Heart Beat

A PVC heart beat is when an electrical impulse originates lower on your heart down in the ventricle area. The ventricles fire off a pulse causing them to contract prematurely.

When you are suffering from PVC heart beats this part is sometimes not felt. In some individuals this is felt as a strong beat.

After this misfire the sinus node steps in and says "Whoa, everybody stop for a second!"

This is the pause that you feel after a PVC.

It's not a skipped beat, it's a compensatory pause that is giving the heart chambers a second to fill back up for the next proper beat. Your sinus node is causing this pause on purpose. Your heart is not stopping or missing a beat. It's a perfectly ok thing to have happen. For many people this feels like a skipped beat or a sense of your heart stopping.

After the compensatory pause the next beat can be a bit stronger than normal because after all of this there is usually more blood in the heart. So a strong beat follows the compensatory pause.

This is the thump that you feel after a PVC that can be mildly painful or uncomfortable for some.

After the heavy thumb beat the heart should go back to a normal rhythm. At least until the next PVC happens.