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Are PVCs life-threatening?

Have you ever felt your heart skip a beat or flutter in your chest? If so, you’ve likely experienced a premature ventricular contraction. PVCs are a type of abnormal heartbeat that impact many people around the world. While occasional PVCs may be harmless, they are a signal from the body that something is out of balance and needs attention.

What is a PVC?

The heart runs on electricity. Electrical signals travel through the heart’s conduction system, which makes the heart contract and pump blood throughout the body.

In the case of a PVC, or premature ventricular contraction, an extra electrical impulse arises from the ventricles before the next expected heartbeat. This additional impulse can cause the ventricles to contract earlier than they should, disrupting the heart’s normal rhythm.

PVCs can feel different to each person but generally create a sensation of a skipped beat, a pounding heart, or a flutter in the chest. While the feeling is typically brief, it can be distressing and uncomfortable for the individual.

Are PVCs life-threatening?

Most of us experience occasional PVCs that may go unnoticed in our bodies. A rare PVC is unlikely to cause concern. However, if PVCs occur more than occasionally, they may indicate something is wrong. Possible causes of PVCs include:

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Alcohol and tobacco
  • Poor diet
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Mold, heavy metals, pesticides or other toxins
  • Impaired sleep or sleep apnea
  • Medications, including over the counter
  • Dental issues
  • Electromagnetic interference

Premature ventricular contractions may be one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease. PVCs are typically found in individuals with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease (CAD), cardiomyopathy, heart valve disease, and heart failure.

PVCs themselves are rarely life-threatening, especially in those with normal heart function and no evidence of structural heart disease. However, they may point to potentially life-threatening conditions.

For example, studies show that individuals who experience PVCs are at higher risk for developing atrial fibrillation. In fact, one study found that people with PVCs were nearly twice as likely to develop AFib. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of life-threatening strokes and heart failure. Even in the absence of AFib, research suggests that PVCs increase the odds of having a stroke.

When should I worry about PVCs?

PVCs become worrisome when they increase in frequency or duration. Individuals with several PVCs daily or those that last more than a few seconds should consult a doctor for further evaluation.

Additionally, PVCs accompanied by any of the following symptoms are concerning:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Chest pressure or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Fainting

How many PVCs are normal in 24 hours?

It’s hard to quantify how many PVCs are normal. On average, the heart beats approximately 110,000 times per day. Most conventional physicians become concerned when more than 10-15 percent of a person’s heartbeats are PVCs. As a result, an individual can have upward of 11,000 PVCs a day without prompting too much medical concern. Studies show that PVCs in excess of 20 percent in 24 hours are associated with the development of heart failure.

However, just because most medical doctors are not overly concerned with PVCs does not mean they are “normal.” The heart is meant to stay in normal sinus rhythm, beating rhythmically throughout the day. Noticeable PVCs are a sign that something in the body needs attention. Therefore, anything more than an occasional PVC is abnormal.

Next Steps

Occasional heart palpitations are relatively common. However, if you’re frequently noticing that your heart is out of sync, you might be experiencing PVCs. While PVCs may be deemed harmless, they should not be dismissed.

If you have heart palpitations, consider working with one of our experienced health practitioners virtually or in person. Our goal at NHD is to address the root cause of symptoms, ensuring the best possible path to your 100 year heart.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Lauren Lattanza Fees

20 Minute Virtual Call: $250

Initial In-Person Appointment:

Follow Up In-Person Appointment:       

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson Fees

30 Minute Virtual Call: $1500

Initial In-Person Appointment:

Follow Up In-Person Appointment:       

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.