Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
Atrial Flutter
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Questions in this forum are answered by pediatric cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and anesthesiologists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. This forum is for questions and support about pediatric heart problems, symptoms and topics such as heart murmurs, palpitations, fainting, chest pain, congenital heart defects (including management and intervention), fetal cardiology, adult congenital cardiology, arrhythmias and pre-participation athletic screening.

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Atrial Flutter

My healthy 4 month old got his vaccinations over 2 weeks ago. ( PneumoConju, HIB, Polio, & Dtap/DTP) were the ones he got. Shortly after 2 hours of receiving these, my baby all of the sudden turned pitch white pale and started to lose consciousness. He had to be rushed to the hospital by the fire rescue since when they did the preliminary tests, his glucose was very low, once he got the the hospital, they performed all these different tests and labs since he had a temperature od 101 and a heartbeat of 250. He was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for a week. Diagnose, was atrial flutter. Now my concern is, why everybody keeps on telling me that they don't know why he has these flutters and arrhythmia when all his lab work came out negative?? They are saying that one of his ventrical is swollen and most likely is causing the abnormal arrhythmia. Not to mention that this happened 2 hours after he got vaccinated and another detail, he had a cold (Discharging Severe Green Mucous) when getting the shots. Now I have my baby at home with a heart monitor under 2 medications Amiodarone and Propranolol. He falls into tachycardia episodes from time to time and the cardiologist that is taking care of him has told me that most likely he will be monitored for the next 6 to 12 months. As a mother, this is heartbreaking since I have to take a monitor along with my son everywhere I go as well as to see him struggle and fighting with me everytime his meds are due. I strongly believe this was all a result from the vaccinations even though doctors have told me it has nothing to do with it. Please let me know if I'm wrong or if there is a possibility that this was all due to those vaccinations?
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If your child had a "cold" at the time of the diagnosis of atrial flutter, the most likely association would be a virus inflaming the heart (possibly making it "swollen" as you describe) and leading to the arrhythmia.  The fever could be a trigger for an arrhythmia, and if there was an underlying viral inflammation of the heart, that could have set it off.  A direct connection between the vaccination and the arrhythmia is unlikely, although children do often get fevers after vaccinations.  I believe you will never be able to know for sure, but since the child had a cold that would be the likely culprit. If your child's heart is otherwise structurally normal and the cardiac function has become normal, and the ECG is normal, then the long term prognosis for the arrhythmia is good.  Many children who have atrial flutter in the first year of life do not have it over the long term.
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