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What are premature atrial contractions?

ANSWER

Do you ever feel like your heart misses a beat? There’s a good chance that what you noticed was a heartbeat that happened sooner than it usually does.

When that happens, and then follows up with a fluttery or skipped beat, it could be a premature atrial contraction (PAC). You might also hear it called atrial ectopic beats or atrial premature beats.

They’re common, and most of the time, they don’t need treatment.

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: "Premature Contractions -- PACs and PVCs."

National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute: "Types of Arrhythmia."

University of Wisconsin Hospital: "Premature Ventricular Contractions, PVCs; Premature Atrial Contractions, PACs."

Allina Health System: "Premature Atrial Contractions."

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: "Premature Heartbeats."

Merck Manual: “Atrial Premature Beats.”

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on May 17, 2018

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: "Premature Contractions -- PACs and PVCs."

National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute: "Types of Arrhythmia."

University of Wisconsin Hospital: "Premature Ventricular Contractions, PVCs; Premature Atrial Contractions, PACs."

Allina Health System: "Premature Atrial Contractions."

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: "Premature Heartbeats."

Merck Manual: “Atrial Premature Beats.”

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on May 17, 2018

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What happens to my heart during a premature atrial contraction (PAC)?

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