Treatment Options for Premature Ventricular Contractions, or Extra Heartbeats
If you have been diagnosed with early heartbeats or premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)—which actually are extra beats between two normal heartbeats in the lower chambers of the heart—you may not require any treatment at all. In fact, PVCs usually do not require treatment, especially if your doctor determines no identifiable cause and the arrhythmia stops occurring on its own. But if your doctor is concerned that your PVCs will put you at risk for a more serious arrhythmia, you may benefit from treatment like receiving an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac ablation.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
An ICD is a battery-operated cardiac device that your doctor will implant surgically. When it detects an abnormal heart rate, the device delivers an electrical shock in order to restore and establish a normal rate. Watch our animation or read more about ICDs [links to P-HV 5.3.2_Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators].
Nonsurgical heart ablation
In heart ablation (also called cardiac ablation), a doctor creates scar tissue in the area of the heart that is responsible for irregular heartbeats. When you are diagnosed with PVCs that your doctor believes will put you at risk for a more serious arrhythmia, your doctor may recommend non-surgical cardiac ablation, also called catheter ablation.
In non-surgical ablation, a doctor inserts a catheter—a special long, flexible tube with wires—into a vein or artery and guides it into your heart. The catheter delivers energy to create the scar. Watch our animation or read more about this treatment option.
Additional premature ventricular contractions treatments
Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your tachycardia, your doctor may recommend a treatment other than ICD implantation or cardiac ablation. Your doctor may consider prescribing medication or suggest certain lifestyle changes to help control your arrhythmia and make your heart beat normally. Another premature ventricular contractions treatment may be cardioversion, either using medication or an electric shock applied by a doctor to restore your heart to its normal rhythm.
Learn why treating cardiac arrhythmias is important from the American Heart Association.
Find out what receiving treatment for your arrhythmia can involve.