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

ANSWER

Your heart has four chambers. The upper two are the “atria.” If your heart’s electrical system triggers the early or extra beat in the atria, the result is a premature atrial contraction.

A similar condition -- premature ventricular contraction (PVC) -- starts in the lower chambers, called “ventricles,” of your heart.

Any time your heart shifts out of its usual rhythm, doctors call it an “arrhythmia.” There are lots of different kinds, including PACs.

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

NEXT QUESTION:

What are symptoms of premature atrial contractions (PAC)?

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