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PAC vs. PVC: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on July 6, 2024
PAC (Premature Atrial Contraction) is an early heartbeat initiated in the atria, while PVC (Premature Ventricular Contraction) is an early heartbeat that starts in the ventricles.

Key Differences

PACs and PVCs are both types of premature heartbeats, but they originate from different parts of the heart. PACs arise from the atria, the upper chambers of the heart, whereas PVCs originate from the ventricles, the lower chambers.
The symptoms of PACs and PVCs can be similar, including palpitations or a feeling of skipped heartbeats, but they are caused by different electrical abnormalities in the heart. PACs are related to the atrial rhythm, while PVCs are associated with the ventricular rhythm.
Treatment for PACs and PVCs may vary depending on their frequency and the presence of underlying heart conditions. PACs are often considered benign and may not require treatment, while PVCs can sometimes be more concerning and might need medical intervention.
In terms of diagnosis, PACs can be identified on an electrocardiogram (ECG) by a premature P wave followed by a normal QRS complex. PVCs, on the other hand, are characterized by a premature and wide QRS complex without a preceding P wave.
Understanding the difference between PACs and PVCs is important for medical professionals when evaluating heart rhythms and determining appropriate treatment strategies. Both conditions reflect irregularities in the heart's electrical system but differ in their origin and potential clinical significance.

Comparison Chart


Atria (upper chambers of the heart)
Ventricles (lower chambers of the heart)

ECG Appearance

Premature P wave followed by a normal QRS complex
Premature and wide QRS complex without a preceding P wave


Palpitations, feeling of skipped beats
Palpitations, feeling of skipped beats, sometimes more noticeable

Clinical Significance

Often benign, may not require treatment
Can be more concerning, might need medical intervention


Usually not needed unless symptomatic or frequent
Depends on frequency and underlying heart conditions

PAC and PVC Definitions


A venue for hosting performing arts events.
The new PAC will host a variety of concerts and plays.


An early heartbeat originating from the ventricles.
The patient experienced occasional PVCs but no other symptoms.


An early heartbeat originating from the atria.
The patient's ECG showed several PACs, but no other abnormalities.


A fixed data communication path in networking.
The company uses a PVC for secure data transmission between offices.


A code used to identify a purchasing agent in business transactions.
The company's PAC is required for all procurement activities.


A graph representing the relationship between pressure and volume in a physical system.
The researcher analyzed the PVC to understand the gas behavior.


A group formed to raise and spend money to influence elections.
The PAC donated a significant amount of money to the candidate's campaign.


A synthetic plastic polymer used in various applications.
The pipes in the building are made of PVC.


A group of parents that provides input and advice to a school.
The PAC organized a fundraiser to support school activities.


The rear part of the vertebral column in anatomy.
The MRI showed a minor issue in the PVC area.


A private entity formed by business, labor, or other special-interest groups that can raise money to use for support of a political party or campaign but typically is required to abide by limits on contributions and expenditures.


A polymer of vinyl chloride used instead of rubber in electric cables


Irregularity of cardiac rhythm; recurrent occurrences can be a precursor of ventricular fibrillation


What causes PACs?

PACs can be caused by stress, caffeine, alcohol, and certain medications, or they may occur without a specific cause.

Are PACs dangerous?

PACs are usually benign and not considered dangerous, but frequent PACs may indicate an underlying heart condition.

What is a PAC?

PAC stands for Premature Atrial Contraction, which is an early heartbeat originating from the atria of the heart.

How are PACs treated?

Treatment for PACs is usually not necessary unless they are frequent or symptomatic. In such cases, lifestyle changes or medication may be recommended.

Are PVCs dangerous?

PVCs are usually benign, but frequent or symptomatic PVCs can be a sign of underlying heart disease and may require medical evaluation.

What is a PVC?

PVC stands for Premature Ventricular Contraction, which is an early heartbeat originating from the ventricles of the heart.

What causes PVCs?

PVCs can be caused by heart disease, electrolyte imbalances, certain medications, and stimulants like caffeine or alcohol.

Can stress cause PACs or PVCs?

Yes, stress can trigger both PACs and PVCs in some individuals.

Is it common to have occasional PACs or PVCs?

Yes, occasional PACs or PVCs are common and usually not a cause for concern.

Can PACs lead to other heart problems?

While PACs are generally harmless, frequent PACs can sometimes lead to atrial fibrillation, a more serious heart rhythm disorder.

What is the difference between PAC and PVC on an ECG?

PACs show a premature P wave followed by a normal QRS complex, while PVCs show a premature and wide QRS complex without a preceding P wave.

Are PACs or PVCs more common in athletes?

Athletes may have a higher incidence of PACs or PVCs due to increased vagal tone and heart remodeling from intense physical training.

Are PACs or PVCs a sign of a heart attack?

PACs and PVCs are not typically signs of a heart attack, but they can occur more frequently in individuals with heart disease.

Do PACs or PVCs require regular monitoring?

Regular monitoring may be recommended for individuals with frequent or symptomatic PACs or PVCs to assess for any underlying heart conditions.

How are PVCs treated?

Treatment for PVCs may include lifestyle changes, medication, or in some cases, procedures like ablation if they are associated with heart disease.

Can exercise induce PACs or PVCs?

Exercise can sometimes induce PACs or PVCs, especially in individuals with underlying heart conditions.

Can PACs or PVCs be prevented?

While not all PACs or PVCs can be prevented, reducing stress, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may help reduce their occurrence.

Can PACs or PVCs be cured?

While there is no cure for occasional PACs or PVCs, treatment and lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms and reduce their frequency in individuals with frequent or symptomatic episodes.

Can PVCs lead to other heart problems?

Frequent PVCs can increase the risk of developing heart failure or ventricular arrhythmias, especially in individuals with underlying heart disease.

Can caffeine intake affect PACs or PVCs?

Yes, caffeine can trigger or exacerbate PACs or PVCs in some individuals.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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