Ventricular ectopic beats
A ventricular ectopic beat (VEB) is an extra heartbeat originating in the lower chamber of the heart. This beat, also called a premature ventricular contraction (PVC), occurs before the beat triggered by the heart's normal function.
Although the origin of a VEB is well documented, the exact cause or causes are not well understood. Some physicians believe the beat is caused by a trigger of specific origin, while other physicians believe the beat is random. Occasional ventricular ectopic beats occur in healthy people. If there is no evidence of heart disease, there is little or no danger to the individual.
A single ventricular ectopic beat has very little effect on the pumping ability of the heart and usually does not cause any symptoms. If a symptom is felt, it is the feeling of a strong or skipped beat, often described as a thump, kick, or flip-flop. Sometimes, the sensation is referred to as a fullness in the neck.
Ventricular ectopic beats are easily seen on an electrocardiogram.
In healthy people, VEBs are inconsequential. If the person with heart disease is able to find an effective means of controlling ventricular ectopic beats, the outlook is good.
Occasional ventricular ectopic beats in healthy people do not need to be prevented. People with a history of heart disease can usually control VEBs with medication.