Does Premature Ventricular Contractions Affect Exercise Capacity in Teenagers with Normal Hearts?

Pezad Doctor, Preetha Balakrishnan, Chenni Sriram, Sanjeev Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are common in teenagers even in the absence of structural heart disease or channelopathy. The suppression of PVCs with exercise is a favorable prognostic indicator. There is a paucity of data regarding the relationship between exercise capacity and PVC burden in this population. Our objective was to evaluate the association between various exercise stress parameters and PVC burden ascertained with a 24 h Holter in children without structural heart disease and/or channelopathy. In this retrospective study, 447 patient’s charts with a diagnosis of PVC were reviewed at a single tertiary center. The study cohort consisted of ninety one patients with no structural heart disease or channelopathy who underwent an echocardiogram, maximal stress test, and 24 h Holter monitor. The cohort was divided into two groups based on PVC burden by 24-h Holter monitoring: < 10% and ≥ 10%. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2 in ml/kg/min), an indicator of maximal aerobic capacity, was collected. Other exercise parameters included a) percentage of predicted VO2 (%VO2) based on age, weight, height, and gender b) percent oxygen pulse, c) Anaerobic threshold (AT), and d) Metabolic equivalents. Demographic and exercise stress test-derived parameters were compared between the two groups using student t test and a p value < 0.05 was considered significant. In our cohort of 91 patients, the mean (SD) age at exercise was 14.5 (3.2) years with 56 (62%) males. Left ventricle shortening fraction (LVFS) was ≥ 28% in all enrolled patients. PVCs were monomorphic in 72(80%) patients. The mean (SD) PVC burden was 14.43% (12.3) ranging from 0.1 to 49.8%. PVC burden was ≥ 10% in 48 (53%) patients. Eighty eight (97%) patients in the study cohort had suppression of PVCs with exercise. There were no significant differences between the two groups (< 10% vs. ≥ 10% PVC burden) with respect to demographic or exercise test-derived parameters. Univariate regression between PVC burden and %VO2 did not show significant correlation (r = − 0.04, p = 0.75). Children even with ≥ 10% PVC burden did not demonstrate any objective decrease in their exercise capacity. A plausible reason for no difference in exercise capacity in our cohort may be due to lower PVC load or shorter duration of PVCs compared to adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-613
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Exercise stress test
  • Peak oxygen consumption
  • Premature ventricular contraction burden


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