When our three year old daughter was two months old we noticed she was not eating, she was lethargic and her hands and feet were cold. We brought her to the hospital where they hooked her up to an electrocardiogram (ECG) and her heart rate was about 300 beats per minute. My husband and I were really scared because at that point were didn't know what was wrong with her. They transported her to Sick Kids where she was diagnosed with a heart condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) is when the heart beats very fast. During an episode of SVT there's a malfunction with the electrical system in the upper chambers of the heart causing a rapid heartbeat. Symptoms of SVT include heart palpitations, dizziness, light-headedness, chest pain and shortness of breath. An episode can last a few seconds or several hours. Our daughter used to experience SVT episodes frequently and when they occurred we had to take her to the hospital so they can administer adenosine through an IV to slow down her heart rate. A couple of weeks ago she had an episode, but she didn't have to go to the hospital because this time it corrected itself. Even though it was a short episode the doctor was still concerned so our daughter had to wear a holter monitor for twenty-four hours to monitor her heart activity. For the next six to eight weeks we have to carry around a heart transmitter and if she has an episode it has to be recorded immediately and sent to the hospital.
SVT can be treated with medication known as beta blockers. Our daughter used to take them three times a day but about six months ago the doctor took her off them as she wasn't having episodes. If she starts having episodes again she will probably have to start taking them again. When she's school age she can have surgery to correct the problem. During this procedure a catheter is inserted into a vein in the upper leg using a fluoroscope to record electrical signals in the heart. During surgery the faulty electrical circuit is destroyed.
Besides having SVT, our daughter is a healthy active child. The cause of her SVT is unknown, but when it happens we're prepared.