AF Association
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Waking up with ectopics

Hi everyone.

So unfortunately I've been having quite a bit of ectopic activity today. It was quite different this time because I awoke with the ectopic beats, whereas normally they don't come on until much later in the day. Still having them now (quite sporadic) and I'very noticed that I'm having bigemyny, or couplets (when there are two PVC's in a row).

Does anyone else have this? And has anyone else woken up with similar feelings?



13 Replies

Yes, I had exactly what you describe a few months back - really annoying. I found slow, regular breathing helped as did getting up for a minute or so to raise my heart rate during the night.

The good news is that they disappeared again as quickly as they had started.


Hi Finvola, thanks for your reply! I took some propranolol and I think it has helped a little bit, but I am still feeling them from time to time. How do you know when you are getting the ectopics? For me I feel, what I can best describe as an empty, gastric feeling in my chest/throat, its honestly so unbearable. I'd rather have a racing heart than an attack of ectopics. Could they be related to stress/anxiety?

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Yes, stress and worry are factors, as is concentrating on the blasted things. I could sometimes stop them by going for a walk or pottering in the garden. Mine always started when I was relaxing or sleeping and I think they were stress related, certainly they worsened when I worried about them. Alcohol is also thought to trigger them but I have seen them described merely as 'capricious', simply coming and going.

I think they feel so bad because each ectopic seems so huge and attention-grabbing that the mind concentrates on them. Try getting physically busy next time you get a bout and concentrate on your activity - it might help.

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I'm very busy with uni work at the moment, my dissertation hand-in is on Friday, so I'm quite stressed out about that. I assume this is why I'm feeling symptoms all of a sudden? Do you have the couplets as well? I felt an instance of them earlier on which scared the life out of me.


Your stress level is bound to be higher this week - roll on Saturday and some freedom. I didn't have 2 ectopics following each other but had bi- and trigemeny, every 5th beat! random- all over the place.

Easy to say, but remember to relax, even for half and hour as often as you can between now and Friday. Best wishes with your dissertation.


I have to agree with you on that one. Maybe after 2 years I have forgotten just how bad the AF was but, like you, I was used to the feeling. These are totally new to me since the Ablations, you get a microsecond of warning that they are about to happen. No pain, just the most indescribable feeling that makes you expect the worst. A bubbling feeling that sort of takes your breath away but doesn't. I describe it as if one heart beat is wrung out. You are just waiting for it to get its act together. I am 50/50 on the stress aspect because we get stressed as a result of these sensations and are then on a high alert waiting for the next session. We get them when we are at our most relaxed.......and then get stressed about it.

Seriously, I think this is a new pattern that we did not experience before the AF. I am told everybody gets them but maybe not AF sufferers, it comes on when you are cured. Would be good to hear if other post ablation members agree.


That describes the blighters perfectly, Rich. Incidentally, I've not had an ablation and have been in NSR on drugs for 20 months but have had ectopics in small and big bouts throughout that time.



You reminded me, I did get these feelings before the ablation whilst taking Flecanide. I think Sotalol had a similar effect.

That said, I have been off of Bisoprolol since October 2015. I took one as PIP on Thursday of last week and Saturday evening (1.25mg). They doubt that the Bisoprolol was the cause though.


Well I have constant ectopics, worse when I am stressed, which I don't seem to be able to control as well as I I used to. Mine gone in couplets sometimes and that makes me feel very odd. Horrible isn't it?

Stephanie tee


I've had PVC'S for a couple of years now and still have them now even after my EP had hoped that the ablation would correct the trouble. I was put on 7.5mg bisoprolol last year and yesterday's appointment with the EP increased to 10mg. The Pvc's I have are nearly always at night in my armchair or in bed. If I'm walking when they start they are so strong I end up doubled over. I've been told that most people have them and are harmless. Oh yeah, they're more than likely the one's that don't have them.


I suspect I am having the same, they started about a month ago and then after about of week of this, horrible feeling, I went back into AF following a tooth extraction so I now have AF and lots of ectopics, I can handle the AF better than the ectopics as I was in persistent AF prior to ablation last September. I think this is so stress related. I know it's difficult but try to relax and put you mind elsewhere. I am desperately trying to do this but I also know it is extremely difficult. Good luck with your dissertation.



I believe I am getting a bout of Ectopic runs at the moment. Same description as you have all mentioned. I got an ECG on Sunday which showed what they described as a high reading on trace 2 & 3 with a number of pauses. This meant nothing to me but an A&E nurse looked at it and said, I get that all the time, they are Ectopics. The problem was that the trace was not long enough to properly diagnose it since the next trace was NSR. I also get what I describe as the 'machine gun' (6 second blast of rapid but NSR). This bout came out of the blue and my Dr is going to refer me back to Consultant for 7 day monitor or better still, an implant. I fully agree that when the symptoms come on, you expect the worst and have no idea how long it will last. I agree that getting out of bed and even laughing which raised the Heart Rate stopped it. I could bring it back on just by relaxing completely. After 2 Ablations, this bout has lasted 4 weeks as opposed to the one off every 2-3 months. Good news for me was that my Dr ruled out the alcohol that I consumed 4 weeks ago as being the trigger.


Hi Micwal,

Bit late replying - been on holidays and no internet!

I have similar symptoms to the ones you described - my VEB's (ventricular ectopic beats) or PVC's premature ventricular contractions were diagnosed during an ECG.

The symptoms are very unpleasant but short lived. I call them "donkey kicks" and they are mean! :) I feel them just beneath my breast bone in that soft triangular section. Mine occur randomly during the day and occassionally, at night and can wake me from sleep.

All the best to you,




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