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SMA Child with jumping heartrate on pulse ox
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SMA Child with jumping heartrate on pulse ox

My son is 32 months old and has Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2. He is on a pulse ox whenever he sleeps to make sure his oxygen doesn't drop due to breathing issues from SMA. His oxygen is fine, but his heartrate is very jumpy tonight. He has been in bed for two hours plus and his heartrate is 115-140. That is resting but not asleep, (he won't fall asleep because the alarm keeps going off). It doesn't stay on any number for longer than 3-5 seconds and sometimes jumps by 2-3 numbers at a time. it remains in the 120s for ten seconds, then the 130s for ten then 140 s. It keeps jumping around. This isn't normal at all for him. Usual resting is 80-90. Any ideas? Does he need help now, or is this no issue?
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Dear SMAdaddy,

A normal heart rate range for a 32 month old is between 85 and 140, or so.  WIthout evaluating him, I cannot say for sure what is happening with his heart rate.  I can say that there has been documentation in the medical literature of autonomic nervous system dysfunction associated with SMA.  The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that controls the heart rate, blood pressure, GI tract motility, etc.  It may be that your son may be exhibiting this.  If it's brief, it's likely not causing problems.  I do not know if it is something that will get worse, however; this is something that you will need to discuss with your neurologist.  If it is prolonged or severe (i.e. very low or very high heart rates), he may need medication to better control his heart rate.
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