An Ectopic Beat is an irregular heart beat that occurs due to variations in the electric conduction or impulse of the heart. It is usually harmless and occurs due to various triggering factors. Sometimes it also is an indication of an underlying cardiac ailment.
Ectopic beats can have an origin in the atrium or can be of ventricular origin. When the ectopic beat is arising in the atrium (the upper chambers of the heart), it is called the Atrial ectopic beat. The involvement of ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart) for a premature contraction or an extra beat is called as the ventricular ectopic beat.
The symptoms of the atrial and ventricular ectopic beats are almost similar. The most common symptoms are –
- Feeling of the heart beating
- Feeling as if heart skipped a beat
- Thumping and forceful heartbeat
Occasionally the ectopic cardiac beat often goes unnoticed. On examination the blood pressure is normal. Stimulants like coffee, alcohol, stress, nicotine and certain drugs are understood as triggering factors.