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What Are Arrhythmias?

Arrhythmias are any abnormality of the heart’s electrical system. Typically the heart has a very ordered and precise electrical process to pump blood through the heart to the lungs and then through the remainder of the heart and out to the body. This process happens 60 to 160 times per minute every minute of every day for more than 90 years. For most people, there are never any mistakes in this process.

The electrical impulse inside the heart starts in a cluster of cells called the sinoatrial node. This electrical impulse then travels through the atria, or collecting chambers of the heart, toward the cluster of cells between the atria and the ventricles, or pumping chambers of the heart. This cluster of cells is called the atrioventricular node. This cluster of cells regulates the electrical “communication” between the atria and the ventricles.

Since arrhythmias are any abnormality of this electrical system, there are an innumerable amount of them. They can be a totally safe small difference from the normal or a very significant electrical disturbance that greatly affects a child.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Arrhythmias?

  • Chest pain
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Palpitations

How Arrhythmias Are Treated

The Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital has extensive experience treating infants from across the world that have arrhythmias. Treatment is individualized to the child’s specific anatomy, age, size and other associated cardiac conditions.

One arrhythmia, called catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia is brought on during exercise and stress. It is a genetic disorder that occurs in multiple family members. The arrhythmia is an abnormal electrical impulse of the ventricle. This is treated with exercise restriction, certain medications, and with surgery in the right circumstances.

Our Innovative Approach to Arrhythmias

Innovations at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the treatment of truncus arteriosus include:

  • Surgical strategies for children with the highest risk subtypes to optimize outcomes
  • Catheter based techniques for smaller children
  • Minimally invasive surgical techniques for pacemakers and sympathetic denervations
  • “Hybrid” collaborations between electrophysiology and cardiac surgery

Why Choose Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital?

The Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital earned the three-star rating, the highest possible distinction, from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for its patient care and outcomes in congenital heart surgery. As one of only 10 three-star programs of the STS’s 118 participating programs, the Children’s Heart Institute ranks among the elite in the United States and Canada for congenital heart surgery.

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is recognized as one of the top 50 best children's hospitals nationally in Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Children’s Heart Institute, in collaboration with pediatric sub-specialists at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, provides comprehensive care for newborns and children, with the ability to transition into adult congenital cardiac care.

Contact Us

Pediatric Cardiology Clinic
The University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 370
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (713) 486-6755(Appointment Line)

Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery Clinic
The University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 370
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (713) 500-5746

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