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    Sudden onset of PVC (Premature ventricular contractions)
    Splnkr posted:
    Hello! This is my first posting here on WebMD.

    On around July 6th (2 and a half weeks back) I started getting heart flutters that I believe are PVC's. Some background...

    I am a 43 year old white male, non-smoker, healthy weight. I work out/mountain bike very regularly year round and consider my self to be in very good shape. I consume about a beer a day and a few glasses of red wine. My blood pressure is controlled with Benicar, and hovers around 124/70. I have high cholesterol, which seems to hover around 200~220. I had been taking Lipitor (for five or so years) but it never really did get "right". Started fish oil and vitamins, and eating all the right foods to lower it, and did make some headway in the "good cholesterol" department. No history of heart issues in my family, though my brother has had two heart attacks, he's kind of over weight and never exercises. Dad is still alive and no history either.

    Seven weeks ago, my doctor switched me from Lipitor to Vytorin. The transition was seamless. Also, at about the same time, he put me on Androgel, because blood tests showed I had an abnormally low testosterone level of 88. This turned out to be a Godsend, as with the first "booster injection" and subsequent Androgel 5mg daily doses, my life was transformed. I felt better than I'd felt in years. But I digress...

    About three weeks ago the samples of Vytorin ran out, and I filled the script. Also got a third (in three months) testosterone injection. I felt the Androgel didn't seem to be maintaining the level I needed, so he suggested monthly shots too until I level off. I only mention all this because I am not sure what is causing my sudden onset of premature ventricular contractions or PVC.

    Within days of starting the Vytorin out of the bottle (same as the samples, 10/40) I started getting heart flutters. At first I kind of ignored then, as I've experienced them in the past (but only maybe one every few months). These were much more frequent. We were on vacation at the time, so I kind of dismissed them. Upon returning home, I hit Google to find out more about them. At the request of my wife, I made an appointment to see my doctor about them. I really thought perhaps I had over tanked on testosterone, as they seemed to start right after that third injection.

    My Google searched really didn't turn up much about a testosterone/PVC connection. But I did read some posts about a possible Vytorin/statin connection with heart related issues. My doctor thinks it could be an electrolytic imbalance, and ordered up a blood test. He also had me hooked up to a Holter monitor for 24 hours. And at this time they had gotten worse. I know the day I wore the heart monitor they were coming every three to five minutes. I bet I had hundreds that day. I decided to stop taking the Vytorin and the Androgel then. The next day they seemed better. Then I went on a mountain bike ride. Whoa! Six miles in, and with a heart rate around 155, I could actually feel the off-beat, and it felt like my heart would then stop for a quarter-second! I must admit it kind of scared me. For the rest of that evening I had them badly. No other issues, no pain, no shortness of breath, dizziness, etc. Nothing but my heart doing back flips! Funny thing is, they do NOT occur at night. In fact, they seemed to start within a half hour of my morning dose of Vytorin. Can you tell I am suspicious of this drug?

    I have not been told of the heart monitor results. The nurse saw one PVC on the screen the moment she switched it on. Should I see a cardiologist? Will they get better? Could it be the medications I am taking? I don't understand why they came on so suddenly when I had never had them before (in such quantity). And if it is the Vytorin, why five weeks into the dosing and not immediately? Should I stop physical activity until I see someone?

    Sorry to be so long winded. I appreciate any comments on this. I'm getting a little worried.

    cardiostarusa1 responded:

    "Should I see a cardiologist?"

    Sounds warranted, even if only being for getting some peace of mind in the partcilar matter.

    "Will they get better?"

    Can't determine this for sure here.

    "Could it be the medications I am taking?"

    It's a possibility. In fact, anything medical is seemingly possible today.

    "And if it is the Vytorin, why five weeks into......"

    Sometimes problems from meds can occur immediatley or quickly, or be a delayed-reaction.

    The most common type of palpitations, premature ventricular contractions (PVCs, occurs even in many heart-healthy individuals), described that the heart is flip-flopping, fluttering, jumping, pausing or stopping briefly (though it's actually not doing that), pounding, skipping, thumping, or strong, hard, or forceful beats being felt in the chest, neck, throat, has various causes (cardiac and non-cardiac) or triggers (includes alcohol).

    As reported, PVCs are typically harmless (benign), be it isolated (single), couplets (2-in-row), triplets (3-in-a-row) or salvos (short bursts of 3 or more in-a-row), bigeminy (occurring every other beat), trigeminy (occurring every third beat), quadrigeminy (occurring every fourth beat), etc.

    However, the main problem or concern (even more so, much more emphasized for those with certain major or serious heart conditions) with PVCs is when sustained ventricular tachycardia (runs of PVCs over 30 seconds) occurs.

    Also, non-sustained ventricular tachycardia (NSVT, runs of PVCs under 30 seconds, but typically not salvos) may/can become serious as well if it occurs frequently (episodes are grouped closely/tightly together).

    Additionally, of the various types/kinds of heart conditions, symptoms may/can be acute (occurring suddenly), be chronic (occurring over a long period of time), come and go (be transient, fleeting or episodic) or even be silent.

    ALWAYS be proactive in your health care and treatment. Best of luck down the road of life.

    Take care,


    WebMD member (since 8/99)



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    kevinholt responded:
    I have had a similar experience. had pvcs couple of times a year until 6 months ago, then 3 or 4 times per night. Really scary stuff.

    Now I'm used to them, sorta. Went through all the tests - no help.

    ran out of my vitorin scrip about 5 days ago and neglected to refill. No pvcs, none in about 3 days.

    I'm curious.
    loki232 responded:
    Similar experience. 43 yo male, I started experiencing them about 6 months ago. They continued to increase in frequency and intensity until I always felt like I had just run up two flights of stairs. I had been on Androgel for about a year for very low testosterone levels before I started having them. I went in to see the doctor, they confirmed they were PVCs from the EKG. He sent me to the heart specialist. They did complete work-up, even imaged my heart with the radioactive isotope, no indication of a defect. They had no solution, but thought it might be related to my medications. I stopped using the Androgel, and they stopped altogether within a few days.


    I recently started hitting the weights again after about 8 years off. Was at it for about a month, and all of a sudden this morning, they resumed shortly after waking up (not brought on by any immediately preceding exertion). I have to wonder if my body is starting to make testosterone again in response to my return to a regular exercise regimen, and the PVCs are somehow related to the increased testosterone levels. That's why I came searching the web for data and found your story.

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