Are my extra heart beats normal?

Hi! I am a 42 yr old woman, 5’9, 137 lbs. I am not overly active. I do a cross fit type routine once a week (though I usually slack off through it) and some days do a fair amount of walking (job) but other than that, not much. I have also smoked for around 22 years. I joined the military a few years back and we have an annual physical done and they said my heart rate was very slow and beat really odd, but I felt fine and they didn’t seem to be worried about it. Each time I’m posted to different bases and they check my heart they flip out at first, but then realize that for me, it is normal. My current doctor decided to look into it further as my heart rate has been around 33-36 BPM (for the last few years) and I have a 2 extra heartbeats. She is puzzled because she’s seen trigeminy with one extra but not 2. I have had ultrasounds and multiple EKGs done over the years and they have turned out normal. She set me up to wear a monitor machine a few months ago but I never got a call to start it. I am wondering what your thoughts may be on this, is this really normal? Are my chances of dying sooner probable? I have heard that usually uber athletes can have a slower heartbeat but I am definitely not one of them. Ok, thanks for your time.

Submitted by Sheryl from Eastern Passage, NS on 02/09/2014

by Ali Massumi, MD

Your slow HR is probably due to frequent extra beats that usually don’t produce a pulse, resulting in low counts. Having trigeminy with two extra beats is also very uncommon. PVC’s (premature ventricular contractions), if frequent, is not a normal feature. A 24 hr Holter could help find out the frequency of the extra beats, the origin of them and their significance.