Ventricular Premature Complexes Clinical Presentation

Updated: Nov 26, 2016
  • Author: Jatin Dave, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Jose M Dizon, MD  more...
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Various symptoms are associated with VPCs, but the exact prevalence of symptoms is not known. Typical symptoms include palpitations, light-headedness, syncope, atypical chest pain, or fatigue. Palpitations are due to an augmented post-VPC beat and may be sensed as a pause rather than an extra beat.


Physical Examination

VPCs frequently are associated with variable or decreased intensity of heart sounds. An augmented beat following a dropped beat is heard frequently. Bounding jugular pulse (cannon a wave) from a loss of atrioventricular (AV) synchrony may be present. The follow-up beat after a VPC is stronger due to the postextrasystolic compensatory pause, allowing greater left ventricular (LV) filling, which usually causes greater intensity of that beat. This is known as extrasystolic potentiation. Conversely, the VPC itself may be underperfused and consequently not perceived by radial pulse, resulting in a spurious documentation of bradycardia.