Resources and Education
What is an arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. A heartbeat that is too fast for a child’s age is called tachycardia. A heartbeat that is too slow for a child’s age is called bradycardia. Palpitations are heartbeat sensations that feel like your heart is pounding or racing. It may simply be an unpleasant awareness of one’s own heartbeat, or may feel skipped or stopped beats. The heart's rhythm may be normal or abnormal. Palpitations can be felt in the chest, throat, or neck.
What is heart murmur?
Heart murmurs are abnormal sounds during your heartbeat cycle — such as whooshing or swishing — made by turbulent blood in or near your heart. These sounds can be heard with a stethoscope. A normal heartbeat makes two sounds like "lubb-dubb" which are the sounds of your heart valves closing. Most heart murmurs are harmless (innocent) and don't need treatment. Some heart murmurs may require testing by cardiac ultrasound specifically echocardiography to be sure the murmur is not caused by a serious underlying heart condition. Treatment, if needed, is directed at the cause of your heart murmurs.
What is syncope?
Syncope is temporary loss of consciousness and posture, described as "fainting" or "passing out." It's usually related to temporary insufficient blood flow to the brain. It most often occurs when the blood pressure is too low (hypotension) and the heart doesn't pump a normal supply of oxygen to the brain. It may be caused by emotional stress, pain, pooling of blood in the legs due to sudden changes in body position, overheating, dehydration, heavy sweating or exhaustion. Some forms of syncope may suggest a serious disorder and cardiac evaluation is advised if syncope occurs as below:
- those occurring with exercise
- those associated with palpitations or irregularities of the heart
- those associated with family history of recurrent syncope or sudden death
What about chest pain?
Chest pain is discomfort or pain that you feel anywhere along the front of your body between your neck and upper abdomen. A main cause of chest pain is caused by costochondritis, an inflammation where the ribs join the breast bone or sternum.
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