AF Association

Update on ectopics

So I'm still getting the ectopics daily, which is kind of unusual because mostly I just get 'attacks' which subside after a week or so.

They're also becoming slightly more alarming. I've noticed sometimes the rhythm will be really irregular all the time and sometimes there are noticable pauses which last about 2 seconds or so.

I think its the extra beats that are causing the slight pauses but its still very alarming. Anybody else have anything similar? I would take propranolol to quell the attack as they do usually work, in a minimal capacity. But I'm afraid because my heart rate is in the 50s whilst lying down, but interestingly it jumps up to 79 when I just lift my body or move around. Very strange and not normal.


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Yes, without drugs I get similar. I usually have almost no pulse you can measure and occasionally would have worrying episodes of what I assume are clusters of ectopics. Everyone would get an increase in heart rate when rising because of the effort or the body priming itself for action/pass? Certainly my heart rate rises, but not by 30 beats, but then again I wouldn't be as low as 50, I'd start at more like 80/85 and go up to low 100's. It doesn't bother me and have always thought it just normal.


I agree with Koll. This is probably OK, but perhaps a 24 hour ecg would be useful to clarify if these are just ectopics.

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Why not ask you doctor to do an ECG and then you can see what is happening. Guessing just increases stress.

Ectopic just means out of place and what usually happens is that the ventricle contracts early before the atrium has sent any blood down to it so closes on empty thus not producing a flow of blood round the body.. This feels on your pulse like a missed beat. Everybody gets them but only we AFers notice. Normal people say 200 per day .

According to monitors I average 2000 a day with no AF but have had periods when I had a rising rhythm of ectopics every 3rd, 4th,5th etc up to 11th and back to 3rd which was quite stressful. I found my propafanone which I seldom take these days helped stabilise the situation and when I tried stopping it a week or so later I was back to whatever normal is for me. The important thing if you are having clusters of ectopic is that it is not AF and EPs tend not to worry about them.

As I said get an ECG done so you know what is going on.



Yeah that sounds fairly similar to my ectopic beat pattern, roughly the same amount in a day too (I probably feel around 1 every 2 minutes on average, but I probably have one ectopic a minute at the moment, who knows really).

I'm well aware that they aren't particularly dangerous, but they are both very annoying and distracting, and a source of panic/anxiety.

Well I'm having a month-long monitor fitted at some point in the next few months so hopefully that'll help. Also the 48-hour monitor found some ectopics but not many.



I still get them, piss me off BUT ITS NOT AF :)


Yes I have recently had something similar. I had an ablation in 2014 and about 2 months ago started experiencing a large increase in ectopics and short runs of irregularity. I was concerned that the runs of irregularity may be a breakthrough of AF.

I went to see the EP who had carried out the ablation as a private consultation (to speed things up). He arranged a 48 hour monitor which revealed ectopics only and no AF. I was very symptomatic during the monitor period. There were 3% ectopic beats over the 48 hour period which is apparently well within an acceptable range. That is getting on for 3000 over a 24 hour period!

The start of the increased activity coincided with a stressful period and very painful sciatica. For me ectopics are a vicious circle thinking about them makes them worse.

The EP prescribed Bisoprolol as a pill in the pocket but thought reassurance that it wasn't AF or anything else nasty happening may be all that was required - and reassurance seems to have resulted in a big reduction in these strange blips so far.

So I think the suggestion of others is correct - get an ECG done to find out what is going on.

Ectopics are very common. Those of us who have (or have had) AF can be very aware of our hearts.


I get tons of PACs and occasionally they lead to atrial runs and AF. I try not to worry about the PACs, but when they come every other beat (bigeminy) it is only 1 step from AF, at least for me. Also, I recently came across this article by a well known EP, suggesting that PACs, even when not leading to AF, may not be as harmless as once thought:

We sufferers of frequent ectopics certainly don't need more reason to worry, but it is useful to have the knowledge anyway.

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