Medical Q&As

Premature atrial contractions - explain?

I had an ECG done and it came back with the result saying I had a premature atrial contraction. What is this and is it something that I should be concerned about?

Contraction of the heart is stimulated by electrical impulses emanating from the SA or sinoatrial node, which is the hearts own intrinsic pacemaker. Contraction of the heart begins in the upper two chambers, which are known as the right and left atrium. The contraction then spreads in a wave like fashion to involve the remaining two heart chambers, which are known as the right and left ventricle. Premature atrial contraction simply means that the atria have contracted prematurely. Most people experience premature atrial contractions from time to time but are not aware of t because it doesn’t always give rise to symptoms. Sometimes it feels like a light flutter in the chest. Certainly there is no need to be worried at this finding. Premature atrial contractions can be caused by excessive consumption of caffeine and it is also quite common when people are stressed. Sometimes they can be caused by medication such as salbutamol, which is a commonly prescribed asthma treatment. Premature atrial contractions are not a condition as such and can be regarded as minor coincidental findings that were picked up by ECG.