Background: Premature ventricular complexes (PVCs) are the most common form of ventricular arrhythmia in the general population. While in most cases PVCs represent a primitive phenomenon with benign behavior, in a non-negligible proportion of subjects frequent PVCs may be epiphenomenon of underlying occult heart diseases, requiring special medical attention since they have been resulted linked to increased total and cardiac mortality. Nevertheless, PVCs themselves, when incessantly frequent, may be responsible for left ventricular dysfunction in otherwise normal heart. Aim of this narrative review is to update current knowledge on the general approach to patients with frequent PVCs on the basis of available data, with a special focus on the value of imaging. Hypothesis: Routine diagnostic work-up not infrequently miss subtle concealed arrhythmic substrate, leading to erroneously refer to such arrhythmias as to “idiopathic”. Methods: Literature search of PVCs articles was conducted in PubMed and Scopus electronic database. Results: Conflicting data arise from literature about the true clinical significance of idiopathic PVCs. There is growing body of data providing evidence that more advanced non-invasive imaging modalities, such as cardiac magnetic resonance, have an incremental diagnostic and prognostic value. On the other hand, in some cases the prognostic significance of isolated subtle myocardial structural abnormalities in patients with PVCs, still remains area of uncertainty. Conclusion: In selected subjects with PVCs and high-risk features for concealed arrhythmic substrate, traditional assessment to rule out the presence of heart disease, including surface ECG and transthoracic echocardiography, should be implemented with more advanced cardiovascular imaging modalities.
- cardiac magnetic resonance
- premature ventricular complexes
- risk stratification
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine