AF Association

Ectopic Beats and Beta Blockers - advice please

My 24 hour ECG showed (quoting from the letter) "normal and fairly frequent irregularities known as ectopic beats were seen and I see that you were symptomatic throughout the monitoring period. I am happy to reassure you that these are not of clinical concern, however if they are troubling you, your GP may be happy to prescribe a trial of B-Blocker tablets that might improve your symptoms"

So I do not have AFib which is great but it is fair to say that these ectopic beats are affecting the quality of my life, especially my sleep. They occur more and more now, even when exercising (which was my way of getting rid of them originally!) and often at night in bed and they prevent me from sleeping, sometimes for hours.

Does anyone have any experience like mine and have you tried B-blockers and did they do the trick?

Hope it's OK to ask this as I do not suffer from AFib - thanks

7 Replies

I struggle to understand how a 24 hr monitor can pick up AF if it isn't happening during that 24 hr period. I can go for days, and even weeks, without symptoms then can have an attack that lasts for hours. I recently had a 7 day monitor fitted. It picked up 3 episodes, one of which lasted for 36 hours without me being aware of most of it. Perhaps the 36hrs included two nights when I slept for my usual 7 hrs.


Hi and I agree that a 24 hr monitor is unlikely to pick up AF if it is paroxysmal and to me the presence of ectopic beats is a pointer to latent AF somewhere. This is not guaranteed mind you. I suffer occasionally in this way even though my AF has been treated by three ablations and I know how unpleasant they are.when they come in clusters and at night. I am sceptical that beta blocker will have any effect although I found that taking my original rhythm control drug was of benefit when they were at their worst.. Clinically your cardiologist might be correct but that is no comfort when you can't sleep. All people get ectopic beats, up to,200 a day for normal people and they are not dangerous but can be very distracting. I would be tempted to ask your GP for a second opinion from an electrophysiologist if you were treated by a normal plumber type cardiologist . These are the electricians of the heart world. There is a list bay area on the main AFA website.



Thanks for this Bob, in fact it was the A&E consultant who ordered and reported on the tests, I have not seen a cardiologist. I will push my GP on potential treatments.


My main problem is ectopics which come in clusters after eating, when lying down and sometimes for no apparent reason. They can be just an annoyance, or very uncomfortable indeed and in general made me feel worn out and unfit, presumably because they were so numerous they were affecting my circulation? But maybe I have other things going on, who knows? Should be having a study done this year hopefully.

Anyhow, beta-blockers did nothing for me except make me feel (a LOT) worse. My EP put me on Disopyramide which is working a treat and it has all gone away for now :-) . He said beta-blockers were completely the wrong drug for me (might not be for you though).

Like you, the experts haven't been able to catch AF in the act because they don't monitor for long enough, but I think I do have a bit of AF as well as the ectopics. Personally I think my electrics are just up the swanny

I don't think GP's can prescribe the sort of drugs I need, it needs a cardio/EP. And speaking personally, having seen them for years, I would press for an EP, not a general cardio, because they simply know what they are doing more than anyone else, it's their speciality.

Good luck



This is my problem right now , and was there during my EP study , I have those all my life but recently waking me at night and causing my short breath and chest tightness.

Rhythm control medicine helped me little bit with them but didn't control them completely along with its bad side effect which is unpleasant for the long term.

It is better to meet EP doctor for advise , and I agree with the other that paroxysmal AF will not be shown during 24 hours monitor unless you are lucky to have episoids during that time

Beta blocker helped me little bit also in regard those ectopic beats, but recently they are more symptomatic and they are coming from ventricle in clusters, so I'm going to have ablation soon to stop them hope for long time.



I've had ectopics for over 20 years and they only turned to af a year ago. My AF is fairly constant with an attack about every 10 to 14 days but my ectopics were much more random being very troublesome at times and then disappearing sometimes for 12 months.


Hi Lizziefin. I have af, paroxysmal, treated with bisoprolol, flecainide and warfarin. Recently the af has been milder but longer, and I've started ectopics like yours. I too have to have a 24 hour monitor next week, but have been told that the ectopics are not a problem.. Well, they 're not a problem to the dr s! But I find them uncomfortable and have not noticed that bisoprolol has not made any difference. But I only take a small dose. Keep in touch, JanR


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