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A Premature Atrial Contraction (PAC) is an unusual heart rhythm, also called an arrhythmia. A PAC results when the heart’s electrical system causes an extra heartbeat in its upper chambers or atria.

As with PVCs, PACs do not always indicate a heart condition that requires medical care. In some cases, people who have PACs also have heart conditions, such as heart disease.


The cause of PACs aren’t always known but some conditions make PACs more common. They include:

  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • High blood pressure


You may experience a PAC as a flutter in your chest or an extra heartbeat. Other symptoms include:

  • Unusual tiredness after exercising
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness

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