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How to Tell if Your Child Has a Heart Problem

Young boy playing baseball

There are a variety of heart issues that children may experience, ranging from congenital heart disease present at birth to acquired issues such as viruses that can impact the heart. 

What symptoms could indicate a problem? When should parents be concerned? 

In most cases, children with the symptoms outlined below will fortunately not have any heart problems. For instance, chest pain is often related to musculoskeletal chest wall pain rather than heart disease, and some children may become dizzy when not drinking enough fluid.

However, if your child has any of these symptoms, it is important to tell your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor. He or she will listen to your child's heart, make a full medical evaluation, and then decide whether a referral to a pediatric cardiologist is appropriate.

Infants

  • Faster breathing and becoming out of breath, particularly with feeds
  • Becoming excessively sweaty during feeds
  • Turning blue inside the mouth (ex: gums and tongue)
  • Fainting and losing consciousness

Toddlers/Children

  • Unable to keep up physically with other children
  • Becoming out of breath with activity sooner than other children
  • Fainting and losing consciousness

Older Children/Teens

  • Unable to keep up physically with other children
  • Becoming out of breath with activity sooner than other children
  • Chest pain, especially with exercise
  • Fainting and losing consciousness
  • Palpitations (heart skipping a beat or beating abnormally)
  • Dizziness, especially with exercise

While the majority of these symptoms may be false alarms for any heart disease, we know that these symptoms can be stressful and scary! Please rest assured that cardiac specialty care from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia physicians is available for you and your child at the Lancaster General Health Suburban Pavilion.

author name

Matthew D. Elias, MD

Matthew D. Elias, MD, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and an attending cardiologist in the Cardiac Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed his residency and fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Elias offers services at CHOP Specialty Care, Lancaster.

Call: 717-544-0375

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.

 

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