Q:

How do you know if you're having premature atrial contractions?

A:

Quick Answer

Most people do not have symptoms of premature atrial contractions, but the most common symptom is heart palpitations, according to About.com. Palpitations are more common after people ingest alcohol, caffeine, tobacco or stimulant medications.

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Full Answer

Premature atrial contractions are quite common, and many people never realize they have them, states About.com. Unless a person has premature atrial contractions that trigger episodes of atrial fibrillation, treatment is usually not necessary. However, if people experience problematic premature atrial contractions, the best treatment is to avoid substances that make symptoms worse. It is rare, but possible, that premature atrial contractions can become disruptive, and in this case, a person may choose antiarrhythmic drugs, but these medications carry the risk of toxicity.

Doctors may also ablate the areas of atria that have premature atrial contractions, but it is an invasive procedure, and it has a risk of complications, explains About.com. This procedure is typically only for people who have premature atrial contractions that trigger serious arrhythmias.

Premature atrial contractions are usually not medically significant, and most doctors label this condition as normal, claims About.com. However, premature atrial contractions are problematic to some patients who have atrial fibrillation episodes. In this case, doctors treat atrial fibrillation by working to eliminate premature atrial contractions.

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