Healthbeat 4: Sioux City woman describes living with an extra heartbeat

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 9:23 AM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Hollie Fahrendholz knew 10 years ago something wasn’t quite right with her heart.

Fahrendholz was diagnosed with Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC.) It is as she described: extra heartbeats that disrupt the normal rhythm.

“It can be caused by some abnormal electrolyte balance in the center of the heart. So other things that can make this worse include alcohol, smoking, caffeine, energy drinks, stress,” said Dr. Mohammad El Baba, an electrophysiologist at MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center.

PVC can be treated with medications. That is the treatment plan Fahrendholz is on.

“It slows my heartbeat to kind of help with those controls. I do still feel it, not as often,” said Fahrendholz.

Another option Dr. El Baba mentions is called ablation.

“So what we do in an ablation we put a cath from the groin to the heart to the bottom chambers looking for the area where the extra beats are coming from. Once we target the area we go there and deliver heat to kill off the abnormal cells causing the extra beats,” said Dr. El Baba.

Fahrendholz has a family history of heart problems. Her dad had his first heart attack in his later 30s and her grandma has had four pacemakers. That is why she wants her children and others to take heart health seriously.

“Pay attention to their bodies. If you think something is funny, it is okay to get it checked out,” said Fahrendholz.

Similar feelings can happen in your heart caused by anxiety, anemia, or other health conditions. That’s why it is important to have a doctor test what is causing the feeling of extra heartbeats or the skipping beat sensation.