Every time the heart squeezes it requires an electrical impulse. The impulse originates from an area in the top right corner of the heart known as the sinus node. Electricity then spreads across the upper two chambers of the heart. It travels to the lower two chambers through a specialized conducting pathway known as the AV node. Normally the only way for electricity to travel from the upper to the lower chambers is through the AV node.
Palpitations refers to a sensation that the heart is beating irregularly, faster, or harder than normal. Palpitations in children are relatively common. In many instances palpitations can be completely normal! However, it is important to thoroughly evaluate a child who is having palpitations to rule out the possibility of any type of more serious cause.
A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole in the ventricular septum, the lower wall of the heart separating the right and left ventricles (see normal heart anatomy). A VSD is a congenital heart defect, in other words, a birth defect of the heart. Congenital heart defects are the most common form of birth defects, occurring in approximately 1 in 150 children. A VSD is the most common congenital heart defect; the overall incidence is 3-4 per 1000. There are many different types of VSD’s. The most common type, termed a muscular VSD, is formed when the muscle of the wall fails to completely seal. The majority of muscular VSD’s are small ventricular septal defects and rarely of any physiologic consequence. Less common types of VSD’s include membranous, inlet and outlet types. These types of VSD's are often larger and may cause more problems for an infant or child.
Every time the heart squeezes it requires an electrical impulse. With normal electrical conduction, impulses originate from an area in the top right corner of the heart known as the sinus node. Electricity then spreads across the upper two chambers of the heart. It travels to the lower two chambers through a specialized conducting pathway known as the atrioventricular (AV) node. Every piece of tissue in the heart is electrically active. All heart tissue can conduct electricity. However, in addition, all heart tissue can generate electricity as well. Normally the heart tissue is simply conducting electricity generated by the sinus node. However, occasionally it will generate it as well; when this happens a premature contraction results.
Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) represents one of several risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease later in life. More and more frequently hypertension is being identified as a problem in young people. The physicians at Pediatric Heart Specialists are experts in the evaluation and management of pediatric hypertension.