Cardiology: Heart Disease-Miscellaneous Conditions

The expert physicians at Children’s Specialty Care Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas use the newest research and techniques for evaluation and treatment of the following kinds of pediatric cardiovascular conditions:

Evaluation for possible heart disease prior to medication, testing, sports participation or surgery.

Abnormal cardiovascular screening tests

If a child experiences symptoms that concern a primary care provider, the physician may order an EKG. If the EKG is abnormal, the doctor will refer the child to UT Southwestern pediatric cardiologists at Children’s Specialty Care Center for evaluation and order any additional tests that might be necessary.

Chest pain

Most of the time, children experiencing chest pain do not have a heart condition. Often, pain in the chest is caused by an injury or by irritation to the lungs, ribs, chest muscles or breastbone. 

Potential sources of chest pain in children include

  • Acid reflux
  • Anxiety
  • Costochondritis, inflammation of the joint between the breastbone and ribs, is characterized by pain in the chest due to pressure on the sides of the breastbone
  • Pericarditis, inflammation of the lining of the heart caused by infection, causes sharp pain in the sternum.
  • Coronary artery abnormalities are associated with a fast heart rate, chest pain that moves to the shoulder, chin or arm, sweating and trouble breathing

Testing to determine the cause of chest pain in children includes a medical history, an EKG or ECG and X-rays. Treatment will vary depending upon the condition and can include medication and, not as frequently, surgery.


Syncope, or fainting, occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is insufficient for a brief period of time. It is typically the result of low blood pressure and can be caused by

  • Stress
  • Changing of body position (from sitting to standing)
  • Dehydration
  • Exhaustion
  • Overheating
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Obstructed blood vessels
  • Blood clot
  • Heart failure
  • Violent coughing spells
  • Medication side effects

Most children have no major heart condition that causes the fainting, so a physical exam including a measurement of blood pressure and heart rate while lying down and standing up is often all that is needed. If further testing is required, it can include

  • EKG
  • ECG
  • Exercise stress test
  • Tilt table test, in which blood pressure is taken on a regular basis as a child is tilted at different levels

Treatment for syncope varies depending on the cause of the condition and is focused on preventing recurrent fainting. Options for care can include avoiding triggers such as caffeine; changing medications that cause syncope, and using cardiac implantation devices that regulate the heart rate.

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Specialty Care Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas


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