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Ectopic beat (or cardiac ectopy) is a disturbance of the cardiac rhythm frequently related to the electrical conduction system of the heart, in which beats arise from fiber or group of fibers outside the region in the heart muscle ordinarily responsible for impulse formation, i.e., the Sinus node. Depending upon the origins of the ectopic beat within the myocardium, an ectopic beat can be further classified as either a premature ventricular contraction or a premature atrial contraction. Some patients describe this experience as a 'flip' or a 'jolt' in the chest, while others report dropped or missed beats. Such extrasystoles are more common during periods of stress or debility; they may also be triggered by consumption of some food like alcohol, strong cheese or chocolates, etc.
It is a form of cardiac arrhythmia in which ectopic foci within either ventricular or atrial myocardium, or from finer branches of the electric transduction system, cause additional beats of the heart. Some medications may worsen the condition.
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