If the premature heartbeats are infrequent, there is very little impact on the heart and how it pumps. You may have no symptoms at all. Typically, a premature beat feels like a strong or skipped beat.
Ventricular premature beats can cause problems for people who have heart disease that affects the structure of their hearts. If the premature beats happen often enough, they can trigger more dangerous irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) such as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, both of which can cause sudden death.
Causes and Risk Factors
A variety of factors can cause ventricular premature beats, including:
- Age; this condition is more common among older people
- Caffeine in beverages such as tea and coffee, foods or certain over-the-counter drugs
- Cold or hay fever remedies that contain drugs that stimulate the heart, such as pseudoephedrine
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart failure, which causes the heart's lower chambers to enlarge
- Stress, either physical or emotional
- Valve disorders, which also cause the heart's lower chambers to enlarge