AF Association


Hi Everyone,

Quick question, what are ectopic beats? are they when your heart feels they have missed a beat or when you get an extra one, two or more beats?

I went into AF yesterday although heart rate was quite slow ranging from 90 to 130. When I woke today it was 56 to 68 but keep getting either missed beats or several extra ones in a row, am I still in af or just having these ectopics.


4 Replies

Sounds more like ectopics than AF but only real way to tell is with ecg. Ectopics are as you guessed. The ventricle contracts before the atria has passed it any blood so it has nothing to pump. This feels like a missed beat. If you have lots of little beats in a row then it is usually short bursts of tachycardia. AF is always erratic, chaotic and irregular but not always fast.

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Thanks Bob. It was certainly erratic yesterday, i'm on amiodarone but may request to go back on flecainide as i had fewer episodes then.


I think ectopic can feel like both-- my ectopics feel like missed one beat or two then sometimes just that its slow and then sometimes fast for v short time. The AF for me is v v v fast beats and breathless grim


"ectopic" means "in an abnormal place or position". (as in ectopic pregnancy)

My understanding of this is that a beat is ectopic if it is generated outside of where the normal source would be expected to be. Almost any heart cell seems to have the ability to produce an electric charge, but a normal heartbeat originates in the right atrium. Anything other than this is termed "ectopic".

There are those on this forum who know a lot more than I do so please correct me if I'm wrong.


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