Arrhythmia (Tachycardia)

An arrhythmia is an irregularity in the pace at which the heart beats that in turn causes a variation in the pulse rate. Sinus arrhythmias are common in children and associated with variances in the pulse rate as breathing changes. The activity of the vagus nerve is affected by breathing, and the change in vagal nerve activity is reflected in changes in the pulse rate. In most cases, sinus arrhythmias are mild and do not require treatment.

Other types of arrhythmia may be more serious and require medical evaluation and treatment. The following are the common types of arrhythmia:

  • Artrial fibrillation is the extremely rapid, irregular twitching of the muscle tissue of the heart's atrial (upper) chambers.
  • Bradycardia is a pulse rate that is too slow.
  • Tachycardia is a pulse rate that is too rapid.