Pediatric Heart Expert Forum
Sinus arrhythmia
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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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Sinus arrhythmia

My otherwise healthy 4 year old daughter had a well-child check-up today in which her pediatrician told me that she had a regularly irregular heartbeat and said it was probably a sinus arrhythmia in which there was no need to worry.  He ordered an EKG and the snoop of a mom I am read it over the tech's shoulder.  It said sinus arrhythmia at 94 bpm with an enlarged left ventrical.  She has seen the same pediatrician her whole life and I am concerned that this is arrythmia is new and not something she has already lived without treatment or obvious complication for 4 years.  I also am concerned about underlying cause, such as heart disease and if there may be another cause.  I realize without the EKG and an echo you may not be able to provide much information.  We won't receive results from the EKG until next week sometime and I am going to worry.  Please help.  
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Dear Angela,

Without reviewing the study or seeing your daughter, I cannot say for sure what is happening with her.  However, I can say that sinus arrhythmia is an absolutely normal finding.  It correlates with the heart rate normally increasing with inspiration and decreasing with expiration; this is referred to as respiratory variation.  Unfortunately, we're stuck with the misnomer, sinus arrhythmia, which is scary sounding but quite benign.
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