What is the mortality and morbidity of premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)?

Updated: Jan 13, 2017
  • Author: James E Keany, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Answer

The clinical significance of PVCs depends on the clinical context in which they occur, as follows:

  • PVCs in young, healthy patients without underlying structural heart disease are usually not associated with any increased mortality
  • PVCs in older patients, in particular those with underlying heart disease, are associated with an increased risk of adverse cardiac events, particularly sustained ventricular dysrhythmias and sudden death
  • In patients who have had a MI, the risk of malignant ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death is related to the complexity and frequency of the PVCs; patients with PVCs in Lown classes 3-5 are at greatest risk (see Lown grading criteria in Workup)

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