My son’s heart is racing

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Submitted by Dr T on July 26, 2011 – 7:53am

My son is 11yr. old.His heart will race even when he is just sitting down and then slow down so slow that his oxygen level is way too low.When it slows down he starts spitting salava.This goes on for a 24 hour period.Rapid heart racing 8-10 times during 24 hour period.Sometimes he vomits.He alway’s wants  the light’s turned off and he yanks his hearing aids out .He totally freak’s out and so do I.School sent him to E.R. first time and he lay in a coma like stage for 14 hrs.What is going on?

You need to take your son to a doctor now. I don’t have enough information to make specific suggestions, but if indeed his heart is racing too fast (palpitations or arrhythmias), cardiac abnormalities are certainly a possibility.

Arrhythmias can cause problems with contractions of the heart chambers. This can show up in two ways:

  • not allowing the chambers to fill with an adequate amount of blood
  • not allowing a sufficient amount of blood to be pumped out to the body

The following are some common symptoms of arrhythmia:

  1. fatigue
  2. palpitations
  3. dizziness
  4. fainting

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, there are several different types of procedures that may be used to diagnose arrhythmias, including:

Arrhythmias may be present but cause few, if any, problems. In some cases, your child’s physician may choose not to treat the arrhythmia. However, when the arrhythmia causes symptoms, there are several options for treatment. Treatments may include :

  • Lifestyle modifications of factors such as stress, caffeine, or alcohol can provoke arrhythmias.
  • Medication will be determined by the type of arrhythmia, other conditions and medications already being used.
  • Cardioversion, a small, electrical shock is delivered to the heart through the chest to stop certain fast arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia or atrial flutter.
  • Ablation.
  • Pacemaker, small device implanted under the skin that sends electrical signals to start or regulate a slow heartbeat.
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), small device, similar to a pacemaker, is implanted under the skin, often in the shoulder area just under the collarbone.
  • Surgery usually done only when all other options have failed. Surgical ablation is a major surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia. The chest is opened, exposing the heart. The site of the arrhythmia is located, then destroyed or removed.

Sudden death in young athletes is a rare but tragic event, but most of the heart conditions that cause sudden death in young people could have been diagnosed with careful testing. Read more here:

Hope this helps,

Dr T

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