Are these ectopic beats?

Hello everyone

I'm trying to understand what is happening with my heart and PAF. I know when I'm having an AF episode with jumping, flapping, fluttering heart and fast (150+) pulse, breathless and low BP but there are also what I have been calling 'mini episodes' which are much less severe.

From reading all the information on this site, I wonder if the 'minis' are really ectopic beats. My heart gives a sudden 'jump' and then beats fast (100+) but steadily - this can happen once or twice or it can carry on for a few minutes.

If these are ectopics, are they related to AF? Can they trigger AF? Or am I just fussing and causing them myself by being overly watchful? (I find that waiting for the next AF episode is nearly as stressful as the actual thing!)

How do others cope with these sessions - is it better to try to ignore them?


16 Replies

  • Hi Finvola, One of the easiest things to say and one of the hardest things to do is not let AF rule your life. Ectopics are that "missed beat" thing when your heart misses a beat. It sounds to me like you are having mild tachycardia (fast heart beat) . I get these often first thing in the morning when I stretch before getting up. NO Af since third ablation coming up six years this June.


  • Thanks Bob - I am getting somewhere with not letting it THINK it rules my life . . . . but, 'tis slow.

    Six years free of AF is wonderful for you - long may it last for you.

  • NO AF but I do still get lots of ectopics and short runs of tachycardia but I can live with them. Life is a balance but very precious as I also had prostate cancer three years ago. Wondering what the next hurdle will be. lol


  • Wishing you well Bob

  • Bob.

    My husband has prostate cancer his PSA was 67 when he found out about it, he then had RT and HT out of remission now this cancer is on the move again, did you have yours taken out ? My husband also had bad luck as having skin cancer as well. Now I have this AF!


  • Hi Christso. I had major surgery yes. Prostate and one lymph node three years ago. Then a year later a hernia repair following the above. They found cells in the node so I then had seven weeks radiotherapy and am still on hormone (Zoladex) implants till August when we will stop and see what happens. PSA less than 0.01% at last three monthly check. Next one next month. . My PSA rose steadily from low teens to thirty something yet three biopsies failed to find it. A fourth trans perenial biopsy found it " hiding round the front" so I elected for the slash and burn approach.. Lots of reasons not to take that route but right for me after serious discussion with my wife. I'm 69 now by the way. Still playing hard and trying to grow old disgracefully.


  • Wish you well Bob and thank for you support.

    What is the difference between ectopic beats , PVCs , extra beats and ventricular beats ? And are you taking any medication for those.

    I'm having a lot of PVCs and ventricular beats long time back , I feel them very badly recently maybe because I stopped the sotalol

    And just like you since my recent ablation I'm having short tachycardia each morning specially when I stretch my body , I was not like that before .

    I'm not on any cardiac medication right now accept warfarin .


  • Hi Maitha, sorry I'm not familiar with the acronym PVC which to me is a form of plastic. LOL. As far as I know ectopics are premature ventricular beats so I suspect that they are one and the same thing. The stretching in the morning when you wake up, yes I get short (three or four second) runs of tachycardia in those times which tend to wake you up. To me they are a small price to pay for the freedom I now have and I think we should all remember that we have forgotten what life was like BAF before AF and probably had these things anyway yet never noticed. I am not on any drugs for arrhythmia at the moment although I did take some when my ectopics were every third beat 24/7. Remember also that the body takes a while to restore normality after drugs have been discontinued.


  • Thank you Bob


  • Hi Bob, reading your post I've just had my first ablation and I get the ectopics and short runs of tachycardia. Usually at night while sleeping and it sometimes wakes me up. Its good to read someone else experiences this and is AF free to date. The fast beats i experience are in rythym. Wishing you well with your next hurdle, sounds like your a fighter so you will get through it!

  • I don't think I have AF any more either, but just get ectopics all the time instead. Might have some AF but we can't catch it. The ectopics come on when I've eaten, lie down especially on my left side. In my case they are in clusters so it feels like my heart wobbling. I just ignore them as they go away after 20-30 minutes. My pulse was all over the place as well, you'd feel not a lot, then the odd bump. I'm on drugs at the moment which have stopped all this, but that's how it was a few months ago.



  • Hello Koll - Each time I've had them I thought an episode was starting - and did some measured breathing - which I thought worked quite well. Bending down, walking uphill and taking a shower are my miseries.

    I'm glad that your drugs have stopped the symptoms - stay well.

  • I get the same thing sometimes Finvola, just for a few beats, when I've been aware of it it hasn't led on to an AF episode, but as those mostly start when I'm asleep I can't say for sure! However the one AF episode I had during the day when I wasn't very well started quite quietly. I guess we just have odd hearts :)

  • I cannot say for sure one way or the other Finvola. You would probably have to capture the event on an ECG and get a cardiologist to tell you, and even then different cardios might say different things.

    I had a 24hr holtor monitor test in January, on what I would call a "bad day" - lots of palpitations and generally feeling breathless and out-of-sorts. Results indicated that I was mainly in sinus rhythm, with "short runs of AF". From that I assume most of the time my discomfort was from ectopics, not AF.

    The fear of AF is something I can relate to. For me it was worse with migraine - the fear of an attack was almost as distressing as getting one. But migraines have stopped now that I'm older, and AF is not so bad if I don't run. Sad thing is, I love to run. But that's another story.

    Good luck!

    Chris (first post)

  • Hello Chris

    Thank you for sharing your experiences - your bad day is what I think of as a 'tight' day, so that does help with trying to understand this thing.

    I sympathise with your love of running - I live on a mountain and have a young border collie who cannot understand why I don't gallop up the mountain with her any more . . .

    Take care


  • Yes, galloping along with the ones we love, or even just alone, is something I still badly want to do and am exploring options to allow that to happen. (Sotalol worked for about 8 years, but not so effective for the last two years). Your question is an important one - if AF is stopped but ectopics are still unpleasant and/or debilitating, then stopping the AF may not necessarily be enough.

    Asking questions and gaining understanding is always a good thing.

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