Heart and Blood Conditions

Arrhythmia Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia can cause these problems with your child's heartbeat:

  • Their heart beats too slowly (bradycardia, pronounced brad-ih-CARD-ee-ah).
  • Their heart beats too quickly (tachycardia, pronounced tack-ih-CARD-ee-ah).
  • Their heartbeat is irregular - the speed and pattern change.
  • They have palpitations .

You and your child may or may not notice any of these problems with their heartbeat. Sometimes families have no idea their child has an arrhythmia until it's noticed during a routine exam.

Because the heartbeat affects blood flow, some arrhythmias can cause these symptoms:

  • Feeling faint, weak, lightheaded or dizzy
  • Being short of breath
  • Tiring easily
  • Having chest pain
  • Sweating
  • Pale or ashen appearance

Arrhythmia Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child, check their heartbeat and use a stethoscope to listen to their heart. The doctor will ask for details about any symptoms your child has, their health history and your family health history.

Some kinds of arrhythmia happen only once in a while. So arrhythmias can be hard to diagnose.

To learn about the electrical activity in your child's heart, the doctor will use an electrocardiogram (ECG). If an abnormal heartbeat does not happen during this test, your child may be asked to wear a device called a Holter monitor, which can record their heart's activity for 24 hours. Another device, called an event record, can be turned on by your child when they feel a problem with their heart rhythm.

Other common tests to evaluate arrhythmia include echocardiogram and exercise testing . Some children may need a chest X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart, or blood tests.

Our doctors also use electrophysiology studies , which enable them to find the cause of the arrhythmia and, in many cases, cure it.