The heart is among the most energetic muscles in the body, beating some 50 million time in a child\"s very first year the life. It\"s typical for a child\"s heartbeat to speed up or slows under as they play, sleep and also grow.

But what if your child\"s heartbeat seems much faster or slower than it should be, or has an unexplained pattern? In this article, the American Academy of Pediatrics explains normal heart price fluctuations in kids, and what could be cause for concern.

Reasons for irregular heartbe​ats

​​Ordinarily, special “pacemaker\" cell in the love send electric impulses from top to lower chambers (atria and ventricles), i beg your pardon take transforms squeezing and also relaxing come pump blood transparent the body. ​There are countless factors that have the right to influence this rhythm. These include physical activity, tension or excitement, for example. ​Fever, dehydration, and also medical conditions like anemia can likewise play a role. So can certain medications or consuming power drinks and other caffeine-containing beverages. In addition, some kids are born through congenital conditions that influence the heart\"s muscle or electric pathways and also the way it pumps.​

Irregular heartbeats that are usua​​lly normal

Irregular heartbeats, likewise called arrhythmias, are a usual reason because that referral to a pediatric cardiologist. Many often, this irregularities turn out come be perfectly normal. Instances of these common but usually unauthorized arrhythmias include:

Respiratory sinus arrhythmia - the most typical irregular heart price in children. It\"s led to by the normal readjust in how quick blood return to the heart as soon as they breath in or out. The love beats quicker when castle inhale, and also slower as soon as they exhale. The surname “arrhythmia\" is in reality misleading, because this sports in heartbeats wake up in all healthy children in varying degrees.

Premature or “skipped\" heart beats - seen in as much as 75% the pediatric patients. These irregular beats might start in one of two people the height chambers (premature atrial contractions) or the bottom chambers (premature ventricular contractions) the the heart. Patients feel favor their love “skipped\" a beat due to a pause in the rhythm adhered to by a an ext forceful beat. ​

Normal H​​eart Rate selection for Ch​ildren & Teens

​​Variations in a child\"s heart price is normal. Generally, though, a child\"s heart prices slows together they gain older. Because that example, a heart price of 130 come 150 beats per minute is normal for a newborn infant, however it would be thought about fast because that a school age child. An strong teenager may have a heart price of 50 at rest yet could have heart price of 180 throughout heavy exercise.

To inspect your child\"s pulse or heart rate, gently feeling for a slim beat inside the wrist, the crook of the elbow, or next of neck. Counting beats because that 15 seconds, and also then multiply by 4.


Awake rate

(beats per minute)


(beats every minute)

newborn 100 to 205 90 come 160
infant 100 come 180 90 to 160
1- to 2-years old​ 98 to 140 80 come 120
3- to 5-years old 80 come 120 65 to 100
6- come 7-years old 75 to 118 58 come 90
Adolescent 60 to 100 50 come 90

Irregular heart rhythms that might need review & treatment

There room other types of rarely often rare heartbeats that may need be treated or monitored. This include:

Abnormally quick heartbeats

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is the most common abnormal pediatric heart rhythm, influence as numerous as 1 in 250 children. It wake up when electric signals in the upper chambers that the love misfire and also cause a sudden burst of abnormally fast, “racing\" heartbeats that last because that seconds, minute or longer. About fifty percent of kids with SVT, sometimes called atrial tachycardia, space diagnosed together infants. Illustration of SVT typically go far by a child\"s first birthday, although it deserve to return.

There are different varieties and reasons of SVT, including:

Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a collection of heartbeats beginning in the lower chambers of the heart, rather than the top chambers prefer normal, that reason an abnormally quick rhythm. It is rare in children, but early identification can be lifesaving because it deserve to raise the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. One form of VT is long QT syndrome, an inherited condition that affects an estimated 1 in 2,500 people. It reasons the reduced chambers the the love to take it too lengthy to contract and also release, leading to a fast and also chaotic love rhythm.

Abnormally slow heartbeat

Bradycardia – once the heart rate is listed below the common low selection for a child\"s age. In children, two of the many common varieties are:

​Heart block is when electric signals are prevented native passing indigenous the top to reduced chambers that the heart. The problem often is resulted in by structural troubles in the heart that affect the atrioventricular (AV) node, a swarm of committed heart cell in the appropriate atrium the act together a organic “pacemaker.\"

Signs & symptoms of an abnormal heart rh​​ythm in children

Infants through abnormal heart rhythms might seem extra irritable or fussy, have feeding difficulties, appear pale, and also lack energy. Older youngsters tend come have more specific symptoms together as emotion a fluttering or pounding well-known as heart palpitations, lightheadedness or fainting, chest pains or discomfort, and challenge breathing.

How room abnormal heart rhythm​​s diagnosed?

If your child\"s medical professional suspects a love rhythm trouble after the physical exam, the or she will recommend cardiac testing, which may include:

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). This quick and simple test generally is the very first one recommended to inspect for abnormal rhythm. The is normally able to confirm a diagnosis, but sometimes added testing may be needed.

Wearable heart monitors. If a heart rhythm difficulty seems come come and also go, or happens only in certain settings, a wearable love monitor may help with diagnosis. Gadgets such as a Holter screen let one older son press button when they feeling symptoms over the food of a work or more. The doctor have the right to then look in ~ what the monitor confirmed was keep going in the love at the moment.

Stress test. If the abnormal heart rhythm has tendency to happen mostly throughout exercise, the doctor might order one exercise tension test. Your child rides a stationary cycle or operation on a treadmill when the physician monitors the love rhythm.

Imaging tests. Although uncommon, specific heart rhythm conditions may signal troubles with the heart\"s structure. In these cases, imaging tests such as an echocardiogram (ultrasound the the heart) might be needed.

Your doctor will most likely refer you come a pediatric cardiologist because that follow up. A pediatric electrophysiologist, who specializes in trial and error for heart rhythm disorders, may additionally be part of your child\"s care team.

Treatment for a​rrythmia

Although love rhythm disorders can be worrisome, treatments and cures room available. Plenty of heart rhythm problems can be regulated with medications. Implantable devices such as synthetic pacemakers can also assist keep love rhythms regular. Other alternatives include corrective surgery and also other measures such together radiofrequency ablation, which provides radio tide to warmth up certain heart cell in the love to avoid them native letting electric currents through.

Additional Information​​ :

About Dr. Kilinc:


Orhan Kilinc, MD, FAAP, a pediatric electrophysiologist in ~ Joe DiMaggio Children\"s Hospital, is a member of the American Academy the Pediatrics (AAP) section on Cardiology and also Cardiac Surgery, is, and also the AAP Florida Chapter.​



About Dr. Snyder:


Christopher S.

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Snyder, MD, FAAP
, Chair the the AAP section on Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, is director of Pediatric Cardiology in ~ Rainbow Babies and Children\"s Hospital, case Western to make reservation University school of Medicine. That is also a member that the Ohio AAP chapter.​