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Troublesome ectopics every other beat

Hi all, I have had a bad two weeks with ectopics, ended up in A&E on one occasion and have visited my GP twice. The ectopics have been coming every other beat so very uncomfortable, affecting breathing, hard to explain the sensation but it's like my wind pipe is blocking. Have had to take extra doses of propranolol. Has anyone else experience a run of one normal beat plus an ectopic, ie every other beat? Also every 3 beats frequently. I am being referred back to a cardiologist a it is stopping me just getting on with my busy life. Wish could actually talk to people on here as only people who suffer from arrhythmias can possibly understand the misery and anxiety it causes. My husband is good in many ways but cannot relate to ths problem at all so feel very alone especially as the drs are almost no help whatsoever. Without this supportive site I would be far worse off.

8 Replies

I do sympathise - they are awful. Every other beat, every 3rd, 5th and randomly - dreadful things. My EP told me they are harmless but he also said 'I know that doesn't help'. I think the name for 2nd and 3rd beats is bigeminy and trigeminy - which shows how common they are when the blasted things have a name!!

Mine start if my gut is upset, I've eaten too much sugar, I'm stressed - or sometimes just because they start. There is a breathing exercise which helps to stop or limit them. Briefly, relax and breathe with your diaphragm not your shoulders, taking no more than 6 breaths per minute for at least 5 minutes (10 is better). This calms the vagus nerve which is possibly triggering the ectopics.

If you search the box on the top right of the screen for Gupta ectopics, you'll find a good video by Dr Gupta explaining the above exercise. I agree with you about the misery which arrhythmias cause and anxiety is our worst enemy. I found anxiety about ectopics lessened after my first successful session of breathing to stop them. Even when they don't stop, deep, slow breathing is so helpful at soothing worries.

I hope you can get some relief from the misery of these things.


I,ve had ectopic for 42 years that I know,it affects your life,i,m 70 now and don,t look my age, brought up 3 children and worked, we just got to soldier on because there doesn't, seem to be a cure. Thinking of you as I lie here trying to sleep. I,m on bisoprolol for svt which started 11 years ago, it stops the racing but not the ectopic. Doctors say they don,t harm us and after having it for so long that must be the case.


I was in the same situation as you. I had bigeminy and trigeminy for a few years. It got very bad and I ended up in hospital. The doctor said that it had probably been caused by taking Tramadol as a pain-killer for two years. (It's a known side-effect.) I stopped the Tramadol but the ectopics continued at a rate of 20-30 thousand a day and I don't need to tell you how that feels do I?

I was then diagnosed with Heart Failure - caused by the ectopics. If your left ventricle isn't able to pump a full load out every time because it keeps getting extra impulses that confuse it then it gets damaged. My HF was at level four so it was serious. Ectopics not harmful?

I was put on a few medicines and the ectopics dropped to about 20,000 a day but it was still very uncomfortable and I would be woken up a few times a night by the "big thumps" you get when the ventricle finally manages to pump a big one out!

Now for the good bit.

According to Dr Gupta (mentioned in earlier post) if you can reduce the ectopics the heart can recover.

I was scheduled for an ablation to try to reduce them but this was abandoned because the arthritis that I took Tramadol for also prevents me from lying flat for long.

I started doing some serious research into possible cures but I needn't have bothered because someone put a post on here asking if anyone had any knowledge about Iodine as a remedy for heart problems. (Search for Iodine in the search box on the top right.)

I spent two weeks looking into this and came to the conclusion that it was OK for me to try it.

It's not for everyone apparently so you need to do your own research.

I built up to two drops twice a day and checked my ticker every night using my AliveCor device. After five days I had no ectopics! This was over six months ago and I still haven't recorded any.

I had an appointment for a check-up with an EP about two months after starting the Iodine and had a Holter monitor for 24 hrs and then a scan before I saw him. He said that my ectopics were now below 400 a day and my HF was between levels one and two!

My medication was reduced and I have been OK since. I made sure that there were no other changes in my routine or diet so I feel confident that it was the Iodine that did the trick.

I've been taking a Magnesium supplement for about three years.

I still take three drops a day as that seems to be the right amount for me. A bottle with 600 drops costs £25 so it lasts a long time. I get mine from Harmonic Innerprizes because it is in a vegetable glycerin base (rather than an alcohol one).

I realise that we are all different and what works for one might not work for another so I've written this because it worked for me - but you should do your own research if you decide to go down this route.

Best wishes and much sympathy,



Very interesting, George and well done for finding such a straightforward solution. Keep well.

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Thank you so much George for quick response and information. I will research iodine. I do have a thyroid condition which I had radioactive iodine to control about 18 years ago. I'm. It sure about possible contra interactions of iodine and thyroxine but I will look at anything that may help.

Once again thank you for words and understanding

Best wishes to you


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Hi Gillie I am in the same rocky boat as you presently just had 2 abations this year for ectopics which I have had constantly for 18 months increasingly restricted my life could not walk up stairs or slopes without pain and breathlessness in my chest, unfortunately the ablations only slightly eased them but I spend most of my life lying down now, I saw my EP this week and he said I could go for a 3rd ablation but chances of causing Right branch bundle heart block is 40% which is permanent I am at my wits end on 240 Verapamil which doesnt help much, I am def going to try magnesium and iodine before I even think about a 3rd ablation, brilliant research by George will keep you updated and hope we get our lives back!

Keep well, Ingrid

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I just wanted to say I sympathise and empathise with you so much. I have atrial tachyarrythmias and have had severe ectopics in the past. I found regular ectopics every bit as distressing as fast arrhythmias. In fact they were worse in many ways for me as at least my arrhythmias used to last a few hours and then self terminate. Ectopics were just torturous little buggers who insisted on plaguing me 27/7. I can't offer any solution except to say that mine did settle eventually. I did try the very slow breathing exercise Finvola refers to. Some people swear by it and there is clinical evidence that it works. For me, it caused a very alarming flip flopping sensation in my heart which made me feel like I was going to pass out. But this does not seem to be a common reaction. Take care and I am sending you so much compassion and a very warm cyber hug xxx

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Thank you very much for writing. It really is a comfort and appreciate the cyber hug :) I also find the breathing exercise makes the symptoms worse but I assumed it's because I'm not doing them properly or not long enough but it scares me too much to practice if seemingly not helping. I did cup my hands over my nose and mouth to replicate a paper bag in the absence of one and it seemed to help a bit but could have been a coincidence. I hope mine just disappear.

Thanks again


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