Children's Hospital Colorado

Diagnosing Heart Arrhythmias in Children (S1:E5)

Hallmark characteristics of heart arrhythmias include palpitations, syncope and abnormal heartbeats. More difficult than spotting these symptoms, however, is determining whether they are life-threatening.

Most cases of fast heartbeat in children (tachycardia) and slow heartbeat in children (bradycardia) are not considered dangerous. Primary care physicians (PCPs) need to consider numerous factors and spot red flags, such as syncope during exercise or sudden, unexplained deaths in the family.

Listen to our pediatric cardiology expert talk about cardiac arrhythmia in children

Management of heart arrhythmias has evolved in recent years, with changes in diagnosis and treatment.

While PCPs can evaluate most arrhythmia patients in their office, they should take certain steps if they are concerned. In today's episode, Johannes von Alvensleben, MD, joins us to discuss some of the most common heart arrhythmias in children, including identifiable characteristics and treatments.

Dr. von Alvensleben is a pediatric cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Children's Hospital Colorado and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In this episode, we explore:

  • Palpitations and syncope (fainting) as symptoms of heart arrhythmia
  • Characteristics of common heart arrhythmias
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) in an infant versus a child
  • When to worry about children with syncope
  • Inherited heart arrhythmia syndromes
  • The importance of obtaining an electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Comorbidities that can impact an arrhythmia diagnosis
  • Drug-related arrhythmias in older children
  • Treatment options for heart arrhythmias in children
  • The success rate of ablation for arrhythmia

Diagnosing heart arrhythmias at Children's Colorado

At Children's Colorado, we treat children with abnormal heart rhythms at our Pediatric Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology Program. Our team includes experts in cardiology, electrophysiology (the management of heart rhythms) and cardiac anesthesiology, to keep kids comfortable during tests and procedures. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.