HEART DISEASE
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Normal heart rate in a child
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by tlm, Jan 30, 2001
My son is seven years old.  He suffers from mild reflux. He will complain sometimes that his heart hurts and that it is beating hard.  When you put your hand against his chest wall it feels like it is beating out of his chest, even though he is at rest.  His rate is ususally around 130 when this happens, but not always. One night he complained of his heart hurting and when I took his pulse it seemed to pause about every fourth beat.  His doctor feels that these problems are being caused by his reflux and that sometimes just by the way the child is breathing will make the heart rate feel like it is not a steady beat. He use to use albuterol when he was younger, but hasn't had to for the past 2 years. He is a slender built boy, so I'm sure his heart beat probably is more noticeable when I place my hand against his chest. My questions are:
1. What is a normal heart rate for a child at rest and with activity?
2.  Could reflux cause the heart to appear to be beating hard or to fast?
3.  Can a child's respirations affect the rhythm?
4.  Does the heart feel like it is beating harder when you place your hand against their chest as opposed to taking their pulse in their wrist?
5.  Do you feel this is something that should be furthered looked at by a cardiologist?
6.  How high should their rate become before it is a real concern?
He is a normally active boy and doesn't appear to be in any distress when this happens.  The night that he had trouble with his heart not beating steady he did complain of his throat feeling funny and that he felt like it was hard to breathe, but he did not appear to be having any trouble breathing.  He fell asleep and shortly after that his heart started beating without the pauses.  Thanks for any advice you can give me.
Answer:
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by Cleveland Clinic, MDBlank, Jan 31, 2001
Dear TLM,

1. What is a normal heart rate for a child at rest and with activity?
A: Children's heart rates are higher than adults and may run around 100 or so at rest and up to 200 or greater with exertion.

     2. Could reflux cause the heart to appear to be beating hard or to fast?
A: Reflux dosen't generally cause elevated heart rates that I am aware.  It may be possible that any discomfort associated with reflux could elevate the heart rate slightly.

     3. Can a child's respirations affect the rhythm?
A: Yes, there is an interaction with respiration and heart rate.  Generally inspiration increases the heart rate and expiration decreases the rate.

     4. Does the heart feel like it is beating harder when you place your hand against their chest as opposed to taking
     their pulse in their wrist?
A: Yes.

     5. Do you feel this is something that should be furthered looked at by a cardiologist?
A: This is hard to answer.  It would depend on the degree of expertise of his doctor and the degree of the problem.

     6. How high should their rate become before it is a real concern?
A: Again a hard question to answer.  As long as it is appropriately elevated it is not a problem.  If the elevation in heart rate is not appropriate for the situation it may need to be evaluated.
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Member Comments (10)
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by Carol55, Jan 30, 2001
please allow me to attach to the above question.  i, too , would like to know a "normal"range for a childs' heartbeat.  but, i would also like to know if anyone could let me know what is a normal blood pressure reading for a child. preteen.  sorry to attach to  tlm's question, but if anyone, even a nurse, could answer this, it'd be appreciated.
gale
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by stevebu, Jan 31, 2001
TLM

Of course I am not a doctor, but when I was a little boy around 8 or 9 years old (I am 34 now)I use to tell my mom my heart beat felt fast sometimes.  She would just say don't worry about it honey.  Well, as a teenager in 1980 it was discovered I had SVT. To make a long story short, I suffered with it until last year when I had rf ablation done and it seems to have corrected the problem.  I would ask his doctor to put him on an event monitor for a month and see what it shows.  If it is SVT, it usually is not a real serious problem and there are ways to control and possibly cure it.  Whatever it is, a good EP doctor should be able to tell you.  Good luck.

Steve
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by For the young boys mother, Feb 01, 2001
Have his thyroid checked too.  If its overactive he will have a hard and fast heartbeat.
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by Terri, Feb 01, 2001
To Steve, what exactly is SVT and how did you find out you had it?  Thanks for your input
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by stevebu, Feb 02, 2001
TLM

Well, my understanding of svt is that it is like having an extra electrical pathway on your heart that controls the rate.  Sometimes, it may switch to that pathway and start beating fast. The fast rate starts as fast as you turn on a light switch.  My heart would go from 70 to 180 in the blink of an eye.  It would last for minutes to hours before it would switch back.  I was told that normally the condiiton was not life threatening, unless it went on for days and you did not seek medical treatment to have it slowed down.  I went to the ER on numerous times to have it slowed down through IV drugs.  I took medicaition to control it for years, but I was still having several episodes per year.  I decided on RF ablation to have it corrected for good.  They went up through my legs with caths and "mapped" my heart until they found it.  I was under sedation so it was no big deal.  After 3 hours they found the trouble spot and burned it.  No more svt now. It is a very common and very safe procedure that has been around for 10 years.  If your child had an event monitor, and it happened while he was wearing it, a good EP doctor could tell you if it is svt.  I hope this helps.

Steve
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by jim., Feb 05, 2001
if you cut out all coloured sweets and all soft drinks from your childs diet you will see a differant child within a week. dont feed him anything from a tin or bottle or packet. just feed him natural foods. regards jim.
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by stevebu, Feb 06, 2001
Jim,

You base this on what scientific evidence?  You don't even know what is wrong with her child because there has been no diagnosis? I seriously doubt tin is the answer.



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by Terri, Feb 06, 2001
Thanks for all your info.  You have been very helpful. We have an appt. with a gastro specialist to address the reflux and I am going to share with him my other concerns so that I can have him checked out for any cardio problems.  Would svt show up on a regular ekg or does it need to be caught on an event monitor?  Thanks again.