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Atrial Ectopic Beats (AEB)

An atrial ectopic beat, also called atrial premature beat or premature atrial contraction, is a condition where an extra, premature, heartbeat starts in the upper two chambers of the heart called the atria. Essentially, it’s a contraction of the upper heart chamber that occurs before it would be expected.

Atrial ectopic beats may be triggered or increased by stress, caffeine, smoking, and, in some cases, cold medicines. These premature heartbeats may be the result of lung disease (especially if high blood pressure is a factor), an enlarged atria, or reduced blood supply to that area of the heart.

Atrial ectopic beats happen more often in older people than younger ones.

What are the symptoms of atrial ectopic beats?

Atrial ectopic beats occur normally and rarely cause any symptoms. An AEB is usually a harmless disturbance in the normal rhythm of your heart. It can occur only occasionally, in a regular pattern, or several may occur in a row and then disappear. Sometimes people who have them feel a skipped beat or a thump in their chest or neck. In many cases the person feels nothing.