Basics about Arrhythmia in Children

What is arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia refers to the changes in the regular, even rhythm of the heartbeat. If your child has an arrhythmia, his or her heart might beat too fast or too slow, or it might skip a beat or have extra beats.

Most arrhythmias are harmless, but some can be serious and even life-threatening. If your child’s heart beats too fast (a condition known as tachycardia), or too slow (bradycardia), it might affect the heart’s ability of pumping blood efficiently.


What are the types of arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia can be divided into three general categories: Atrial (Supraventricular) arrhythmia; Ventricular arrhythmia, and Bradyarrhythmia.

Atrial arrhythmias in children include:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
  • Premature atrial contractions (PACs)
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)

Ventricular arrhythmias in children include:

  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)
  • Ventricular tachycardia (V-tach)

Bradyarrhythmia in children include:

  • Heart block
  • Sinus node dysfunction


What causes arrhythmia in children?

The common causes of arrhythmia in children are as follows:

  • Congenital heart defect

  • Chemical imbalances
  • Fever
  • Infections


What are the symptoms of arrhythmia in children?

Common symptoms of children with arrhythmia include:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Weakness
  • Paleness
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritability in infants
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Fainting or near fainting
  • Tiredness
  • Low blood pressure


How to diagnose arrhythmia?

Besides the physical examination and complete medical history examination, several different procedures may also be used to diagnose arrhythmia, they are:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Holter monitor
  • Electrophysiologic study (EPS)
  • Tilt table test

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.