My 15 year old son has experienced a racing heart four times in the last two years:
1. Once he was hit hard at play two years ago and a doctor could not find anything wrong.
2. At Soccer practice but not during intense exertion (about 10 months ago)
3. At Soccer practice about three weeks ago.
4. During a Soccer game yesterday 9-19-10
When it happens he feels light headed but then after several minutes it goes away.
Without getting more history, I cannot tell you the etiology of your son’s tachypalpitations. However, the two main causes are dehydration and arrhythmia. Dehydration is very common among adolescents, and considering our rather hot summer, would be even more likely to be seen. I recommend that he take in 32-48 ounces of fluid (water, milk, juice) and a salty snack on a daily basis, with even more fluid if he is active and sweaty. As well, he should not skip meals and should eliminate caffeine, as it is a diuretic.
Arrhythmias can be brief or sustained. The most common ones are a nuisance, but some can be life-threatening. It would be reasonable to have a baseline electrocardiogram (ECG) to ensure that he does not have any specific concerns. As well, if he has persistent tachypalpitations lasting 15-20 minutes, or more, take him to the local emergency department for further evaluation and treatment. In the interim, ensure that he is adequately hydrated, and there is a fair chance that his symptoms may resolve.
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