How We Diagnose &Treat Arrhythmia
We are often able to diagnose an arrhythmia before a baby is born, through our Fetal Cardiology Program. If your obstetrician hears something that doesn’t sound right, they may send you for a fetal echocardiogram to look more closely at your baby’s heart.
We also use a simple, noninvasive procedure called an electrocardiogram, or EKG, to gather electrical information about the heart. We can perform EKGs on children of any age.
Not all arrhythmias show up on an EKG. We often have children wear a Holter monitor, so we can look at their heartbeats over 24 hours. Our team is very good at reading these, and picking up abnormalities others may miss.
If the abnormal rhythm is dangerous or is causing symptoms that interfere with life, then we look at treatments.
For tachycardia, we may start with medication. For some children, we’ll do cardiac ablation which gets rid of the arrhythmia for good. For some types of tachycardias, we’ll recommend implanting a device that can shock the heart back to a normal rhythm.
There are some medications we use for bradycardia, but if the arrhythmia is severe enough, we look at other options. Usually, a child will need a permanent pacemaker. We’re experts at implanting these.