Does your child have atrial fibrillation? Here are some facts you should know.

Atrial fibrillation is very rare in children. The symptoms, diagnosis and treatments are much the same as in an adult.

Normal heart rate in children varies according to the age of the child. In an infant, the heart beats about 140 times per minute. 70 beats per minute is normal for an older child.

The AF heart in a child functions similarly to the AF heart in an adult, with multiple electrical signals firing from various locations in or around the heart causing the atria to fibrillate, or “quiver.” This, in turn, causes the ventricles to contract at an abnormal rate and less effectively.

Your child may not be able to describe what they are feeling during an episode of AF. Sometimes they do not experience any symptoms at all.

It is important to visit your child’s healthcare provider if your child displays any of these symptoms:

  • Weakness or fatigue; tiring easily with exercise
  • Pounding, pain or pressure in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting or lightheadedness

Source: American Heart Association.

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