Bradycardia in children, causes and symptoms of the disease, its treatment

As a rule, mild bradycardia in children is almost asymptomatic, and parents are not always aware of the presence of this pathology. If the disease progresses, then its first symptoms are malaise, fatigue, dizziness and other signs of hypoxia (lack of oxygen). In children, regardless of age, symptoms of the disease may appear, such as:

  • dyspnea;
  • lethargy;
  • pallor of the skin;
  • inattention;
  • chest pain;
  • loss of consciousness.

A distinctive symptom of bradycardia is a slow pulse that persists after uncomplicated physical exertion.

In order to determine the exact diagnosis for such complaints of the patient, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive diagnosis. If you suspect a bradycardia, such examinations are recommended as:

  • chest x-ray;
  • bicycle ergometry;
  • electrocardiogram;
  • ultrasound scan of the heart with doppler.

One of the sources of pathological processes that occur in the body are disturbances in the work of the heart. Failures in the rhythm are observed in both adults and children. A pathology in which the heart rate decreases, going beyond the age norm, is called bradycardia. The disease is quite rare, but is also observed in children.

In such cases, bradycardia in newborns is manifested in a decrease in heart rate of less than 100 per minute, in children under 7 years of age – up to 70–80, in children of primary school age and adolescents – less than 60. Parents can determine the pathology by indirect signs: the child’s appetite is lost, weakness and dizziness appear, he quickly gets tired.

These symptoms should be an occasion to see a doctor.

Deviations in the work of the heart occur as a result of various life situations and the state of the child’s body. Sometimes bradycardia is observed in the embryo, in which the number of heart contractions becomes less than 110 beats per minute. With a prolonged course of pathology, there is a risk of delayed development and death of the fetus. The fetal heart rate is monitored throughout pregnancy.

Among the causes of bradycardia in children are the following:

  1. Violations of the functions of the nervous (neurosis) and endocrine (metabolic changes) systems (most often observed in adolescence).
  2. Increased intracranial pressure.
  3. Congenital heart disease.
  4. Inflammatory changes in the heart – endocarditis or myocarditis.
  5. Hypoxia during childbirth.
  6. Lack of thyroid function.
  7. Past infections.
  8. Serious hypothermia of the body.
  9. Excessive growth of internal organs, including the heart.
  10. Long-term effects of drugs or potent drugs.

Sometimes, a slowdown in the heartbeat in children is associated with sensitivity, for example, with a fright, when the kids hold their breath for a long time. Seeking medical help in such cases is not required.

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Main symptoms

Among the signs of the disease in children are often noticed:

  1. Fatigue after minor activity.
  2. Periodic occurrence of fainting.
  3. Dizziness, drops in blood pressure.
  4. Chest pain.
  5. Loss of appetite.
  6. Memory impairment
  7. Dyspnea.
  8. Heart rate not appropriate for age.

Usually, the disease is manifested not by one, but by a whole complex of signs. An important diagnostic symptom is a delayed pulsation, indicating a low heart rate after exercise or sports. In some cases, there are only 30–35 strokes. The listed symptoms indicate permanent hypoxia of the internal organs.


Due to the occurrence of bradycardia is divided into types. The main ones include:

  1. Pharmacological (drug) appears as a result of taking medication.
  2. Pathological bradycardia is formed due to impaired functioning of any internal organ.
  3. Physiological. In such a situation, the slowed-down work of the heart does not cause discomfort in a person.

Based on the frequency of heartbeats, bradycardia is:

  1. Easy – with a heart rate of 50 to 60 beats.
  2. Moderate – during the work of the body with a frequency of 40-50 contractions.
  3. Severe – when the heart rate drops to 40 shocks per minute.

Mild to moderate forms of bradycardia do not cause health complications. The heart pumps blood with the necessary strength. With severe pathology, blood circulation is primarily disturbed in the area of ​​intracranial arteries. During such changes, the skin and mucous membranes of the patient turn pale, consciousness is often lost, and convulsions occur. Urgent treatment required.

According to the forms of the disease, there are:

  1. Sinus bradycardia.
  2. Heterotopic (rarely observed).

Sinus bradycardia, which, in turn, is divided into primary (congenital) and acquired (more about the weakness of the sinus node can be found here. Weakening of the immune system, periodic inflammation of the lungs, meningitis disrupt the functions of the brain, heart and other organs, is very widespread). factors contribute to the emergence of an acquired disease.


Bradycardia is detected by the following method:

  • The child’s complaints (if age permits) are analyzed for the presence of overwork, dizziness, loss of consciousness, playing sports with excessive loads.
  • Doctors conduct an examination, including counting the pulse, fixing the boundaries of the heart muscle.
  • Urine and blood tests are taken to determine hormone levels.
  • An ECG with a dosed load is prescribed (the patient performs the task on an exercise bike).
  • An ultrasound of the heart muscle is performed to determine the cardinal causes of the disease.

The child must certainly be examined by an endocrinologist, as well as a neurologist, for the absence of disturbances in the operation of the corresponding systems that can become pathological causes.

If bradycardia is detected in the fetus during pregnancy, a series of repeated examinations is prescribed. Even a single case of a decrease in the cardiac activity of the embryo needs a thorough diagnosis.

If such a deviation continues until the later stages of gestation, then this signals a deterioration in placental circulation.

The method of treatment of bradycardia is selected depending on the degree of its development. A mild or moderate form of the disease does not threaten the life of the child if there are no pathologies of the heart with an organic property. Over time, the normal rhythm is restored. Severe bradycardia is treated with drugs, among which:

  • caffeine,
  • ginseng root,
  • Isadrin
  • Isoprenaline
  • “Eleutherococcus extract”,
  • Eufillin
  • “Atropine”,
  • “Ephedrine”,
  • belladonna.

Increased bradycardia, accompanied by pathologies of other internal organs and systems, requires treatment of the underlying disease. If the disease occurs against a background of congenital AV blockade, symptoms of weakness of the sinus node, a pacemaker is implanted in the patient.

Early forms can be cured by folk methods. However, resorting to home remedies without consulting a doctor is prohibited. The dosage and duration of such treatment should be determined by the doctor. Herbal remedies that reduce heart rate include:

Drink plenty of water. The most suitable drinks are:

  • green tea,
  • coffee with milk,
  • cocoa,
  • chicory,
  • broth of dogrose.

Prevention of the disease consists in monitoring nutrition, organizing frequent walks and performing physical exercises. Sport has a special place in the treatment of pediatric bradycardia.

Serious stress on the child’s body is not recommended. It is enough to perform light morning exercises, douche for hardening, swimming in the pool.

The set of necessary exercises can be selected by the attending physician.


  1. Distraction;
  2. Poor appetite;
  3. Slow heart rate
  4. Lethargy and weakness;
  5. Profuse cold sweat;
  6. Possible jumps in blood pressure;
  7. Chest pains;
  8. Dizziness;
  9. Difficulty breathing;
  10. Loss of consciousness;
  11. Bad memory.

The appearance of this symptomatology is directly related to what causes the disease. Often, it is the work of the heart that is disturbed, and since the muscle works poorly, it is impossible to supply the body with blood, nutrients, and oxygen normally. This, in turn, provokes cell death and depletion of the heart muscle. The consequence of such manifestations can be not just fainting, but also a fatal outcome, since the most important organ in the child will be worn out.

Bradycardia and sports – are they compatible?

Many parents are interested in this question: bradycardia in children and sports, are these definitions compatible. After all, any adult wants his child to do something and be carried away. But not everyone is allowed to attend sports sections for health reasons.

It is worth noting that sports are allowed and even necessary for children with such a diagnosis. But you need to choose quiet sections, which are not contraindicated even for children 2 years old. Only through such exercises will it be possible to strengthen the physical condition and get rid of the slowed heart rhythm if there is no organic pathology.

Also, do not forget about walks in the fresh air, which are useful for children of any age. Every day on the street you need to be at least 3 hours. With bradycardia, coniferous baths, a visit to the pool and morning exercises will be useful.

However, it is worth remembering that mild sinus bradycardia can occur in children who are actively involved in sports, especially at the age of 8-10 years. In this case, it is of a compensatory nature, therefore it is not worth stopping classes. With an increase in load, bradycardia is replaced by moderate tachycardia.


In order to prevent the development of bradycardia, you need to take preventive measures immediately after the birth of the baby. These include compliance with the following recommendations:

  1. practicing calm sports;
  2. timely treatment of any disease;
  3. hardening;
  4. rejection of bad habits;
  5. prevention of physical inactivity;
  6. abstinence from self-medication.

Regular intake of walnuts or the use of strong tea helps to normalize the contractile activity of the heart, if it is initially slowed down. Coffee is not recommended for children.

  • Belladonna;
  • Ginseng root;
  • Eleutherococcus extract;
  • Caffeine;
  • Belladonna.

The main goal of therapy is the elimination of the cause that provoked bradycardia. For this, in each case, separate recommendations and medications are prescribed. With a mild form, it is possible to use some traditional medicine, the action of which is aimed at relieving some mild symptoms (fainting, dizziness, weakness).

Note! Acceptance of any decoctions, tinctures does not guarantee a result, and such therapy should not replace a full-fledged treatment. In addition, a small body is able to respond with an allergy to the use of certain natural remedies, so you should always be very careful.

  1. Sunbathing;
  2. Dousing (gentle) as a measure of hardening;
  3. Easy morning exercises (it is important to completely remove the exercises associated with the turns of the body);
  4. Pool.

If the disease has already manifested, be sure to discuss with the cardiologist the exercises that will be performed. Perhaps they have contraindications. The doctor will help you choose the right complex, as well as recommend other non-drug methods of influencing bradycardia.

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Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.