3/7/2010- In which you learn about PVCs

Grr. Last night was a real bummer-o-la.

Let me give you a little background on what's been going on...

I've been having these episodes where my heart will feel like it's beating so hard it knocks me around, I can't breathe well, and I get dizzy. I've almost gone to the hospital at least 5 times, but I just waited it out and 5 or 6 hours later, it would go away. We've actually been on our way to the hospital a few times when I have Nick turn around because I start feeling better.

I've told my doc about this several times and that's what lead to the King of Hearts monitor. She wanted to see what my heart was doing during these episodes. I had an episode the day before my last doctors appointment, so she got to see exactly what had happened. And it was pretty anticlimatic. All she saw were a bunch of PVCs (Premature Ventricular Complexes) which are also called "skipped beats" or "irregular beats". Everyone keeps telling me the PVCs are not dangerous at all unless they happen every other beat or every three beats or something.

My concern has been that when I have an episode like this, it stops me in my tracks. I have to lay on the couch and all I can do is listen to my heart pounding, try to breathe, and not move. It's pretty lousy.

So on to last night- I decided I was sick and tired of this craziness, so I went to the ER. I was having "an episode" and had just been feeling lousy all day. My chest had also been hurting a bit so when I told them that at the registration desk I got the speedy check in routine. I was in a bed getting an EKG within 5 minutes.

Surprisingly, the EKG said I was having a severe heart attack! Then they adjusted the tabs and saw I was ok. Just a little ER practical joke I guess. ; )

All my tests and labs came back normal (for me) although they saw me having the PVCs all night. After 3 hours they decided they couldn't really tell why the PVCs were effecting me so strongly. I almost started crying from frustration. The ER doc literally said "well, we don't know why you're feeling so bad, so I guess you should just go home". Barf.

But then the cardiologist came down (A very nice man who'd worked on me at one of my previous stints in the hospital) and we talked about how rotten I was feeling. I learned that the PVCs are essentially a nerve in my heart freaking out, and that causes the muscle around it to twitch. And the muscle happens to be my entire heart. Since my heart is so beat up anyway, it makes sense that any extra work (this twitching) could really have an effect on me.

I told him we have to find a solution for this- I just can't accept the answer that "it's just the way it is". He said we can tweak my meds to some degree, and there is also a procedure we can look into called Ablation.

Ablation is where the doc puts a catheter through my neck into my heart and burns a tiny burn on the section of my heart that is causing the PVCs. Then scar tissue forms and the nerve that was sending the signal for the PVCs is disturbed and doesn't send them anymore.

It sounds wonderful to me, but the doc said he's not at all sure they will do it. He said it's not dangerous normally, but since my heart is so weak, it's usually not great to damage a heart like mine (that's already damaged). But I want to speak to an electrophysiologist (the doctor that would preform the procedure) anyway. I'll certainly want to weigh the risks, but I don't want to give up on that option. I got an urgent appointment with the electrophysiologist on the 12th, so I'll know more then.

So we came home last night and got a good nights sleep in our own bed and I woke up in good spirits today. Thank goodness for that Cardiologist last night, or I may have acted on my impluse to clock the ER doc in the nose.

So today, I'll just chill out and watch the Oscars. My vote is Sandra Bullock for the Blindside. She was as sassy as they come in that movie!

I'll keep you posted on anything else cool that happens!


  1. Ugh. I hate doctors that don't LISTEN! I am glad that the cardio guy came down. It is nice to at least get an explanation and validation of why you are feeling so crappy. I am glad to hear that you are in better spirits today and are feeling better!

  2. You had great restraint in not clocking that doctor... I'm sending you lots of positive thoughts, prayers, and vibes your way. Hope those stupid PVCs GO AWAY! Love you lots!

  3. WHY didn't I know you had a blog?? I am so out of the loop. You're hilarious, girl...which is inspiring. Praying for you daily!

  4. Sarah, I just got around to making it a real blog-I had just been doing Facebook notes up until now. I thought I'd get all "tech-savvy". : )