Fast Heart Rate in Children

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A child's heart rate, or pulse, reflects the number of times his heart beats in one minute. The normal range varies depending upon the age of the child, and a fast heart rate may indicate a health problem.

Target

  • According to Medline Plus, newborns typically have 100 to 160 beats a minute. Children from 1 to 10 years should have a pulse of 70 to 120, and those over 10 years range between 60 and 100.

Function

  • A fast heart rate, known as tachycardia, initially allows the heart to deliver extra oxygenated blood to body tissues. For example, the child's heart may speed up to compensate for a respiratory infection that interferes with oxygen absorption.

Causes

  • A rapid heart rate may be triggered by fever, infection, stress, trauma, prescription medication, illegal drugs and a host of other factors. Tachycardia can also be a sign of underlying heart disease or an irregular heart beat known as arrhythmia.

Significance

  • Your child's doctor will examine your child and consider her other symptoms to determine the cause of the rapid heart rate.

Considerations

  • If your child is running a fever and has only minor symptoms of illness, you can lower her heart rate by encouraging oral fluids and giving medicine to bring down his temperature.

References

  • Photo Credit "Kate & Rafi" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: BenedictFrancis (Ben Francis) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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