Arrhythmia is a contraction of the heart that differs from the correct sinus rhythm, and can be represented by many subspecies. For example, a defibrillator, so familiar to us thanks to dramatic scenes from films, is used urgently only for one of them: ventricular fibrillation. There are more than 20 types of arrhythmias in total.
First of all, it should be said that arrhythmia is a violation of the heart rhythm, in which the heart beats irregularly, and it can beat as slower than normal – this condition is called bradycardia, or faster – then it is tachycardia. Arrhythmias are classified not only by the criterion of the rate of beats – they are divided into atrial and ventricular, as well as life-threatening and non -life-threatening arrhythmias. For example, ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation require immediate resuscitation. In other words, if at the time of an attack a person is not provided with timely assistance, the count of which lasts for minutes – from 20-30 seconds to several minutes, then the person may die. There are less dangerous forms of arrhythmia. For example, atrial and ventricular extrasystoles (extraordinary contraction of the heart) can occur in healthy people. Although in some cases, ventricular extrasystole in the future can lead to life-threatening conditions, to the development of heart failure and the occurrence of ventricular tachycardia.
The manifestations of arrhythmia in a child can have different specifics. Each age group has its own characteristics.
In newborns and infants, arrhythmia can manifest itself in the following symptoms:
Refusal to eat.
About half of all cases of arrhythmias in school-age children and adolescents are asymptomatic and are detected during routine clinical examination. In other cases, a sign of arrhythmia may be increased fatigue, exercise intolerance, pallor, decreased appetite, apathy, or, conversely, slight excitability.
With a rare heart rate, dizziness, pain in the heart, and fainting may occur. Such manifestations require immediate intervention of specialists and hospitalization of the child.
The causes of arrhythmia in a child are combined into several groups:
Heart-related (cardiac causes). These include congenital and acquired heart defects, carditis and cardiomyopathies, arterial hypertension, myocarditis, etc. This group also includes the consequences of severely transferred infectious diseases such as tonsillitis, pneumonia, diphtheria.
Extracardiac causes. These include diseases of the central nervous system, trauma and brain tumors, hereditary diseases, prematurity, complicated course of childbirth, etc. Conventionally, this group includes arrhythmia in adolescents, which is a consequence of the rapid growth of the body in conditions when the heart and blood vessels do not keep pace with the growth of muscles and skeleton.
For an accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to consult a pediatric arrhythmologist or a pediatric cardiologist. The initial examination by a specialist includes:
Study of medical history.
Full examination (palpation, percussion, auscultation).
If an arrhythmia is suspected, the doctor will refer the child for instrumental diagnostics:
Electrocardiography is a universal method that allows you to assess the work of the heart in a specific time period.
Daily Holter monitoring . A more accurate method compared to conventional electrocardiography, since it records the work of the heart for a long time (day), including sleep, physical activity, various periods of activity, etc.
Load tests. This is an analysis of cardiac activity during physical exertion of varying intensity.
This method can only be used with older children.
After a diagnosis is made, an arrhythmologist or pediatric cardiologist may prescribe examinations aimed at identifying the causes of the disease:
Echocardiography (echocardiography or ultrasound of the heart). Allows you to identify the organic causes of the disease, for example, heart defects, tumors, etc.
Radiography . This method is aimed at identifying extracardiac causes of arrhythmias, for example, pathology of the spine, large vessels.
EEG . Electroencephalography is indicated in cases of suspicion of a connection between arrhythmias and brain diseases.
The clinic for children and adolescents “SM-Doctor” is equipped with only modern diagnostic equipment, which allows our specialists to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe timely treatment of the disease.