Cardiology: Irregular Beats

The expert UT Southwestern physicians at Children’s Specialty Care Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas use the newest research and techniques to treat the following kinds of cardiac irregularities.


Cardiac arrhythmias are irregular heart rates that can be too fast or too slow. There are various types of arrhythmias found in children that include

  • Long QT Syndrome
  • Premature atrial contraction
  • Tachycardia
  • Bradycardia
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Complete heart block

Symptoms of arrhythmias vary based on the condition, but can include excitability, fainting, fatigue and dizziness.

Treatments for arrhythmias depend upon the type and severity. Treatments include

  • Medications that prevent irregular heartbeat, decrease the heart rate and shorten the length of time a child has an episode
  • Radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat to prevent electrical currents from going through the heart tissue
  • Surgery to disrupt the problem areas
  • Pacemakers to regulate heart rates

Heart Murmurs

A heartbeat is the sound created as blood flows through the heart and the heart valves close. When there is a disturbance in blood flow, other sounds are heard, which are called murmurs.

A majority of heart murmurs are normal, or “innocent,” and don’t require any evaluation or treatment. Abnormal murmurs are caused by a structural problem or defect in the heart.  If the murmur is abnormal, a physician will evaluate your child and may order tests including

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram

There are typically no symptoms for normal murmurs, but if your child has an abnormal one, they may experience:

  • Bluish skin
  • Swelling or weight gain
  • Shortness of breath or sweating, even with little or no exertion
  • Decreased appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Chronic cough

Treatments for abnormal heart murmurs include medications and surgery, depending on the cause of the murmur.

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Specialty Care Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas


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