An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat that affects people. It can also affect your child. Often these are not risky but can be life-threatening. Most arrhythmias do not require any treatment, but some require treatment. It is better to consult a cardiologist when you find any symptoms of such disease in your child. Though there are no symptoms in most arrhythmias, some include dizziness and fainting. This article will help you understand the disease’s types, causes, symptoms, and treatment procedures.
What is Arrhythmia?
An Arrhythmia is an irregular heart rhythm which causes the heart pumping to be less effective. Though it appears mostly in adults, it can also appear in children. Also, some arrhythmias are not risky, but some can be dangerous.
The part where they started to classify the type of arrhythmias: it can be in the lower chambers or upper chambers. It can happen when the heart beats too slow, too fast or in an abnormal pattern.
Types of Arrhythmia
It depends on the heartbeat of your children that defines the type of Arrthymia. Pediatric Arrhythmia can be of the following types:
- Long-Q-T syndrome (LQTS): This type is inherited from the parents into children. Mostly it affects young adults and children. You may find no symptom of this in your child or your child fainting often. It may also give rise to cardiac arrest.
- Premature ventricular contraction (PVC) or Premature atrial contraction (PAC): PVCs and PACs are irregular beats in the heart’s upper chambers (atria) or lower chambers (ventricles). They are most common in teens and children. These types are often considered harmless and completely normal.
- Sinus tachycardia: A fast heartbeat arises with excitement, exercise and fever. It is usually normal.
- Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT), or supraventricular tachycardia (SVT): It is the most known tachycardia in children that requires treatment. The main cause is an irregular electric circuit or focal point in the atria leading to fast heartbeats.
- Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome. This irregular electrical signal travels through an additional electrical pathway before reaching the ventricle. It is congenital and can lead to a sudden heart attack. The common symptom includes fast heart rhythm or no symptoms.
- Ventricular tachycardia (VT). Caused by severe heart disease, VT is a deadly arrhythmia. The main causes of this disease include a very rapid electrical motion from the ventricles. It leads to dizziness, weakness, faintness, tiredness and palpitations in children.
- Sick sinus syndrome. When the genuine pacemaker of the heart doesn’t work properly, it can cause slow heart rhythms leading to sinus. It mostly occurs in children who have already had open heart surgery. A child can have zero symptoms or feel dizzy and tired and may faint.
- Complete heart block. Blocking electrical signals to the ventricles from the atria can lead to a complete heart block. It can cause slower heartbeats in children. The problem arises with any heart disease or after a heart operation that might make a kid dizzy.
What are the causes of Arrhythmia?
There are main unknown causes of pediatric arrhythmia, but some of the known causes include:
- Congenital heart problems
- Inherited heart diseases
- The regular reaction due to fever, exercise or emotions
- Abnormal electrical conduction
- Modification in the heart’s structure
- Irregular blood levels of some substances
What are the symptoms of Arrhythmia?
It depends on your child’s maturity and age, which helps you recognise the symptoms. Often grown-up children tell the problem to their parents easily. However, the following are symptoms you may find in your child that can lead to arrhythmia:
- Feeling tired
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling weak
- Fainting (syncope)
- Low blood pressure
- Having a racing heart sensation (heart palpitations)
- Not eating or feeding properly
If your child complains about any of these symptoms or you find them in your child, immediately, you should consult a cardiologist.
With the acknowledgement of a child’s medical history and bodily check-ups, the doctor conducts many tests. These tests include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Exercise EKG
- Event monitor or Holter
- Electrophysiologic study (EPS)
- Continuous recording
- rest/stress myocardial perfusion imaging
Treatment Procedures for Arrhythmia
Not every arrhythmia requires treatment. It is only when your child’s arrhythmia causes symptoms that require treatment. The procedures can be:
Your child can correct abnormal heart patterns or lower rapid heartbeats by taking medications from a cardiologist.
A minute electrical shock can stop suitable fast arrhythmias.
A pediatric cardiologist places a minute, thin tube into the child’s heart through the blood vessels in the arm or groin. It freezes or heats the tissue over the arrhythmia area.
To regulate or start a slow heartbeat, a cardiologist uses a small device under the skin which passes electric signals.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). A cardiologist place a small device alike a pacemaker under the skin to sense the heartbeat rate. It also delivers a minute electrical shock in the heart when the heartbeat is rapid.
When these treatments don’t work, a cardiologist suggests surgery like a maze procedure or ablation.
You should not let go when your child complains about any symptoms mentioned above. It is wiser to seek medical advice in such situations