Extra Heartbeat Causes

Ectopic heartbeat is a form of cardiac arrhythmia in which the electrical conduction system is disturbed arising skipped heartbeat or extra heartbeat from the wrong part of the heart muscle. They can occur in single heartbeats, in pairs or be present every other beat. The extra heartbeat causes may be unknown but it is usually not dangerous. Some medication may worsen the condition.

There're two type of ectopic beat:

  1. Ventricular ectopic beat
    This is an extra heartbeat arising from the lower chamber of the heart which is triggered before the normal heartbeat.
  2. Atrial ectopic beat
    Atrial ectopic beat is an extra heartbeat originating from the upper chambers of the heart.

Possible extra heartbeat causes include:

  • There's an electrolyte problems in the blood
  • Ischemia due to restriction in blood supply to the heart
  • Excessive smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine
  • Certain medications such as stimulants, and some illegal drugs

If you feel your own heartbeat or your heart feels like stopping or skipping a beat, or if you experience occasional, pounding heart beats then you might suffer ectopic heartbeat. But, ectopic heartbeat may be present without any symptoms.

Ectopic beats in children are often resulting from congenital heart disease. Most extra heartbeats in children are an atrial ectopic beat, which are almost always not dangerous.

In adults, ectopic beats are very common and often harmless. But, it's recommended to find out the extra heartbeat causes even if it does not need further treatments.

Most ectopic heartbeats do not need medical attention, unless the symptoms are severe or if the extra heartbeats occur persistently or there's an underlying cause for the extra heartbeat.

Identifying the extra heartbeat causes can be helpful. By avoiding the trigger, it may be possible to eliminate the extra beat. Limiting caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco as well as exercising regularly usually lessen the chance and frequency of developing ectopic heartbeats. In cases the extra heartbeat persists, a small dose of medicine such as a beta-blocker is usually tried first.

Disclaimer: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.