Capital Pediatric Cardiology


Arrhythmias services offered throughout Central California

If your child’s heart beats too fast, too slow, or has an irregular rhythm, they may have an arrhythmia. The Capital Pediatric Cardiology team has offices in Sacramento, Roseville, Modesto, Placerville, Cameron Park, Stockton, Chico, Anderson, and Reading, California, where experienced heart specialists provide expert care for children with arrhythmias. Call your nearest location for a prompt arrhythmia evaluation, or use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment today.

What are arrhythmias?

Arrhythmias are abnormalities in a heartbeat. If your child has arrhythmia, their heart might beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), skip beats, or have extra beats. Arrhythmias that children are more likely to develop include:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial flutter
  • Premature atrial contractions (PACs)
  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
  • AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
  • Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)
  • Ventricular fibrillation
  • Ventricular tachycardia (V-tach)
  • Sinus node dysfunction
  • Heart block

Most arrhythmias cause no problems, but some can have severe and potentially life-threatening effects. If arrhythmia affects how your child’s heart pumps blood to the rest of the body, they could suffer kidney, liver, brain, and other organ damage.

What causes arrhythmias?

When the heart beats, an electrical signal travels through the nerves in the heart’s walls, from top to bottom. This powers the heart’s pumping action.

The electrical signal comes from the sinoatrial (SA) node, a group of cells in the heart’s upper right chamber (atrium). The signal stimulates the heart’s upper chambers, so they contract and send blood into the ventricles (lower chambers).

This is how the heart pumps blood around the body. When the electrical circuit functions properly, the heartbeat is regular and smooth. But an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) occurs if something interferes with the circuit.

Arrhythmias may be caused by cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) or congenital heart disease (one present from birth). Infections, chemical imbalances, fevers, and certain medications can also cause arrhythmia in children.

What symptoms do arrhythmias cause?

Common arrhythmia symptoms include:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Fainting or almost fainting
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain
  • A slow or fast heartbeat
  • Feeling pauses between heartbeats
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath

Infants might be irritable and have difficulty feeding.

Cardiologists perform a thorough physical exam, medical history review, and symptom check to diagnose arrhythmia. Your child may need blood tests, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and other diagnostic procedures, such as Holter monitoring. The Capital Pediatric Cardiology team specializes in advanced noninvasive cardiac imaging.

How are arrhythmias treated?

Many arrhythmias are harmless and don’t need treating. If your child does require treatment, options include the following:

  • Antiarrhythmic medications
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Cardioversion
  • Pacemaker implantation
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • Maze surgery

The Capital Pediatric Cardiology team offers the most advanced treatments that can help even if your child has a severe arrhythmia, so the outlook is good for most children with this condition.

Call Capital Pediatric Cardiology or request a consultation online today for specialized arrhythmia diagnosis and treatment.