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Family Physician
Family Physician, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 12816
Experience:  Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
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Does skipped pulse beat mean danger to the heart Rate is ...

Resolved Question:

Does skipped pulse beat mean danger to the heart? Rate is 1-2 skip, 1-2-skip or changes to 1-skip 1-skip with a rate of 60 and BP 145.   Is any medication recommended?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Family Physician replied 10 years ago.
These "skipped beat" could be either caused by a pause or an "extra beat". These "extra" or more precisely, premature beats tend to be weaker beats than the normal beats because the heat does not have as much time to fill with blood before the contraction. Because the volume of the pulse is less - you mean not actually feel this beat.

The premature beats can be trigger by electrical activity in the atria (top chambers of the heart) or the ventricles (lower chambers). The are actually fairly common, most people have a FEW, but they should not occur as frequently as every 3 beat (something called trigeminy)

Caffeine, stress, smoking, and some medications can increase the frequency of these beats. Low potassium or magnesium levels (which can occur when people are on fluid medications) or an overactive thyroid can also cause these to be more frequent.

I would suggest that you (or whoever the patient is) should see their doctor about this, have an EKG to diagnose the exact rhythm, and possibly have some labs. These are usually not very serious, however at times they can start comming together (couplets) or even in a string (when they are then called either atrial or ventricular tachycardia). This is a more unstable circumstance, and would require medication - the type depending on the source/cause.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Family Physician's Post: from your reply, I presume you had the impression the skipping comes once iin a while. The case is it is comin very frequently. If I walk a couple of blocks or walk up a slight hilly street, it continues for hours and then settles back to a regular rhythmic beat.    ekg verfied the missing frequentcy. My doctor says it is not dangerous and the only medication will slow the rate markedly. I don't understand that answer either. Does such frequentcy damage the heart or can that be known?
Expert:  Family Physician replied 10 years ago.
These extra beat occur occassionally in almost all people. I did understand that yours are comming more frequently.

I'm glad to hear that you had an EKG - and that the physician didn't find anything serious.
The fact that these tend to occur with activitiy is a little more concerning to me. Personally, I would probably recommend a 24-hour recording of your heart beat - something often referred to as a "Holter monitor". This would allow for a documentation of HOW frequent, make sure there were no long runs (tachycardia), and also screen for any changes in the ST segment which would suggest ischemia (not enough blood getting to the heart)

The medications most often used to stop this extra beats can cause the heart rate to go too low - which is often more of a medical problem than the extra beats.

The extra beats WILL NOT damage the heart!
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