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Definition of Extrasystole

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Extrasystole: A premature contraction of the heart that is independent of the normal rhythm of the heart and that arises in response to an impulse in some part of the heart other than the normal impulse from the sinoatrial (SA) node. The extrasystole is followed by a pause, as the heart electrical system "resets" itself and the contraction following the pause is usually more forceful than normal. These more forceful contractions are frequently perceived as palpitations.

Systole refers to the time when the left ventricle of the heart contracts. Extrasystole is also known as extra systole, premature beat, premature contraction, premature systole, premature ventricular beat or PVB, premature ventricular contraction or PVC.

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