Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
Pounding Heart and breathless during play?
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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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Pounding Heart and breathless during play?

Just recently, I've started noticing our daughter seems to be getting breathless during certain exertion: going up a flight of stairs, running around playing etc... This is new. At first I thought it was just a "pretend thing", y'know, "Phew that was hard"... but it's happening quite consistently. In fact, to the point that she'll ask us to carry her when walking up stairs. Our daughter is only 3.5, and very active, so I would assume her to be in very good shape.

This morning it happened when she and our son were running around (not straight out running) playing a little game of hockey in the house. She started getting breathless again. She came over to me and I put my hand on her chest and her heart was just about pounding out of her chest. I tried to take the pulse just with my hand on her chest, and the beats that I could feel were 170+. When she had stopped running around for a few minutes and was playing with her brother more calmly, I had her come sit on my lap, and it was still 150-155.

She has a history of heart disease. She had an ASD that closed, and she had a VSD. Now, the last time it was checked was two years ago and at that time it was very small with trivial leak in the tricuspid valve (her VSD was a perimembranous with inlet extension). She still has a slight murmur. I'm wondering if this is something I should mention to our doctor?
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Certainly if your child has a history of even mild cardiac issues, it is worth mentioning the symptoms to both your primary doctor and to your cardiologist.  It would be highly unlikely for shortness of breath with activity to be related to a small VSD, but it might be worth while getting an ECG and chest xray (to check heart size).  It may be nothing, but better to check. Your primary doctor might have other ideas, like exercise related asthma, for example or anemia.  These could cause such symptoms.
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