Features of the manifestation of respiratory arrhythmias in children and adults

Quite often in children and adolescents there is a disease called respiratory arrhythmia of the heart. Sometimes the manifestation of this disease occurs even in healthy children as a result of nervous conditions, or may be the result of serious illnesses or excessive exhaustion of the body.

Arrhythmia in children is manifested in the form of increased heart rate during inhalation, and when you exhale, a slowdown in heart contractions occurs. Therefore, the rhythm of the heart is broken. Over time, this manifestation of the disease goes away on its own.

The manifestation of respiratory arrhythmia should not be a cause for great concern – the person who has it, as this does not occur any pathological processes in the circulatory system. A person practically does not notice such changes in the frequency of the heart.

In a healthy adult, the heart contracts for about eighty beats per minute, and the intervals between contractions are almost the same. Thus, the work of the heart occurs with a constant rhythm. During physical exertion, nervous experience, during heat or after eating, the heart begins to work faster. But in a calm state, during sleep or resting while lying down, the frequency of heart contractions can decrease even by ten contractions.

Arrhythmia in adults is observed much less frequently and is a consequence of transferred infectious diseases or in people suffering from vegetative-vascular dystonia, as well as in smokers. Compared with other types of arrhythmias, respiratory arrhythmia is not a big danger.

Along with respiratory arrhythmia, respiratory sinus arrhythmia can be observed in children and adolescents. Her testimony is a failure in the rhythm of the heart with a difference of more than ten percent. The development of the disease is associated with insufficient development of the nervous system. Unlike respiratory arrhythmia, with sinus there is a rapid heartbeat when exhaling and lowered when inhaling.

Treatment is necessary only if a person has several types of different arrhythmias at once. For treatment, in some cases, herbal preparations with a sedative effect are prescribed. Respiratory arrhythmia in children is effectively treated by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, moderate physical activity. Nutrition should be saturated with magnesium, calcium.

Useful products – vegetables, seafood, honey, dairy products, fish. Long walks in the fresh air are very useful for the body. The respiratory system should also be developed with the help of morning exercises and systematic exercises in various sports.

The attitude in the medical world to such a phenomenon as respiratory arrhythmia of the heart cannot be called unambiguous today. Some experts define it as a pathology of the heart, while others believe that this is a natural state of the body. There is also an opinion that, not being an independent disease, it indicates the presence of other ailments that are hidden.

The phenomenon most often occurs in children and adolescents who do not have complaints about the general state of health, as well as in adults, actively

. What is characteristic of respiratory arrhythmia? In inspiration, there is a rapid heartbeat. When exhaling, on the contrary, there is an excessive slowdown in heart rate.

Often the phenomenon is confused with a sinus rhythm change, which can lead to heart failure. In this case, there is no reason for concern. Since a change in heart rhythm is directly related to the work of the respiratory system, this type of arrhythmia has received the same name.

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Who is at risk

People who have experienced a serious psycho-emotional shock, drug poisoning, exhaustion, and a long-term infectious disease often experience the effects of respiratory arrhythmia. As a rule, this condition is temporary, the symptoms disappear by themselves. Smokers, people prone to vegetative-vascular dystonia in its chronic or systematic manifestation, feel the manifestations on themselves.

  • functional disorders in the work of the heart;
  • diseases of the spinal column;
  • neurosis, neuralgia;
  • osteochondrosis;
  • blood flow problems;
  • rheumatic heart disease;
  • problems in the endocrine system.


If respiratory arrhythmia is asymptomatic, its presence can easily confirm the ECG procedure. Ultrasound examinations are no less effective. But most often they are not required, being an additional option that allows you to establish an accurate diagnosis. Changes in the position of the P-wave becomes the main indicator of the presence of this syndrome.

Revealed side ailments require immediate professional medical attention. This feature, not being a disease, does not require medical treatment. Oddly enough, in medical practice there are frequent cases when respiratory arrhythmia can indicate an improvement in health status. For example, during the rehabilitation period after a serious infectious disease, myocardial infarction, rheumatic heart disease.

If an adult is concerned about symptoms, it is necessary to immediately go to the hospital and get an ECG. Only a doctor can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe adequate treatment, if necessary. As practice shows, it is likely that during the study, side diseases can be detected.


Taking preventive actions to strengthen the general condition of the body will never be superfluous. A set of measures that will help normalize heart function, level respiratory arrhythmia and improve well-being includes a healthy lifestyle, elimination of bad habits, balanced nutrition, moderate systematic physical activity, prolonged sleep, a mandatory daily routine, stress avoidance, and walks in the fresh air.

Many people in a normal condition or with various diseases have a symptom such as cardiac arrhythmia. This is a kind of violation of the heart rhythm, which is expressed in changes in the frequency of contractions, disturbances in the conductivity of the electrical impulse, as well as incorrect reproduction of the rhythm.

One of the varieties of physiological arrhythmias is respiratory arrhythmia of the heart, better known as sinus. Its main difference is that there is a certain relationship between the functioning of the respiratory organs and the cardiovascular system. In fact, this disease is characteristic of adolescent children.

In most cases, patients do not complain of any ailments, but with deep breathing this type of arrhythmia becomes more noticeable. This is due to the fact that at the time of inspiration, contractions of the heart muscle become more frequent, and when exhaling, it is quite the opposite. In young men, this can occur throughout the entire respiratory process, but in adults, to a greater extent in the elderly, it occurs only when taking a deep breath.

  • nervous state for a long time;
  • stressful situation;
  • severe illness;
  • smoking tobacco products;
  • taking certain medications.

Respiratory arrhythmia, symptoms, concept, of course, ambiguous. This is because this condition does not have specific clinical signs, because, as a person, he simply does not notice any changes in his general condition. If it is observed in young people, then this is considered the norm, so this phenomenon can hardly be called a disease.

  • it may accompany a certain deviation in the work of the heart;
  • in some cases, it indicates that the condition of the patient, who, for example, suffered a heart attack or an infectious attack, has improved;
  • tends to disappear when certain cardiac pathologies occur, for example, the inflammatory process of a certain layer of the heart muscle, a defect of congenital origin, damage to the connective tissue or circulatory problems.


It was said above that respiratory arrhythmia does not have pronounced symptoms, however, it is quite easy to detect with an electrocardiogram, because it is immediately visible there. Arrhythmia manifests itself in the fact that the intervals that share heart contractions have different lengths, sometimes shorter, then longer, while the PQ interval remains normal.

Looking at the results of the electrocardiogram, the doctor draws the appropriate conclusions, because the difference in the duration of the intervals is characteristic only for arrhythmias in the sinus node. In addition to the ECG, a deviation can be detected by auscultation and pulse determination.

Exposure methods

Treatment of respiratory arrhythmias is prescribed depending on the results of the examinations. Drug exposure is necessary only if some other disease is detected against the background. In no case should you prescribe medications yourself; doctors claim that this is fraught with serious consequences.

Now gaining popularity is a method such as breathing exercises. There is such a program as Strelnikova’s gymnastics, the action of which is aimed at optimizing blood circulation, as well as saturating the blood vessels of the upper and lower extremities with oxygen. This method is more related to prevention, and it is not for nothing that doctors say that the disease is much easier to prevent than to treat.

Who is at risk?

The risk group for the development of pathology falls into 2 age groups:

  • Children and teens. Due to the undeveloped activity of the nervous system, DA is characteristic of the younger generation. Usually, teenagers are in no hurry to complain about the presence of heart disorders or simply do not notice it until chest pain appears. Therefore, the presence of a violation can not even be suspected. It is worth noting that in adolescents and children, the ailment resolves on its own and cannot be considered a pathology. But in 10% of cases, dysfunction progresses, causing complex heart rhythm disturbances.
  • Adults This age category is less prone to the development of pathology. Respiratory arrhythmia in adults can not develop itself, it occurs against the background of an infectious disease or cardiac pathology.

Respiratory Arrhythmia or Fly Elephant

Respiratory arrhythmia The phrase “respiratory arrhythmia” very often appears in ECG findings, especially in young people. A synonym for respiratory arrhythmia is sinus arrhythmia, but if this doesn’t tell you anything, then we will understand further. So, although the work of our heart is carried out autonomously, the body still has several levers of influence on its activity.

One of these levers is the so-called vagus nerve – the vagus (nervus vagus). When activated, the activity of the heart is inhibited, and so nature invented that the activation of this vagus causes breathing, or rather inhalation. The deeper the breath, the slower (to certain, reasonable limits) the heart works. After exhalation, the vagus again works as usual.

As a result of this, the heart rate all the time varies from one side to the other – this should be normal. And all would be well if the doctors did not come up with a “call” the irregularity of the heart with arrhythmia. And what to call arrhythmia associated with breathing – of course, “respiratory arrhythmia”, but there is nothing terrible and terrible in it.

That’s the whole solution to this terrible phrase that excites the minds of healthy people who have received an ECG in their hands, where there is no word “norm”, but “respiratory arrhythmia”. It should be noted that in different people at different periods of time the effect of respiration on the work of the heart is not the same, therefore respiratory arrhythmia can appear and disappear from the ECG on different days.

Then make the deepest entrance, tighten the abdominal muscles and stay in this state for 15 seconds, not forgetting to take the pulse. You yourself will see how much the pulse has become slower, sometimes the heart rate drops to 40 beats per minute and this is the norm. So if you are afraid of respiratory arrhythmia, take a breath, exhale and forget about it.

Features of arrhythmia in children

It is known that children are more likely to suffer from rhythm disturbances than adults, due to a weak nervous system. Especially disturbed are newborns and premature babies, overweight children. It becomes difficult to diagnose arrhythmia due to mild symptoms, therefore, the health status of the doctor should be monitored. Arrhythmia in adolescents occurs for the same reason as in babies.

Preventative procedures

Mild symptoms do not immediately determine DA. However, there are a number of diagnostic procedures aimed at establishing a competent diagnosis:

  • general examination of the heart (probing the pulse, listening to the heart);
  • electrocardiography will show the heart rate;
  • echocardiography.

Preventive measures are based solely on a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and psychological comfort. What is needed for this:

  • eat balanced;
  • limit the intake of sweets, fatty, salty and spicy foods;
  • increase the consumption of vegetables fruits, fiber;
  • eliminate the stress factor, abandon addictions: smoking, alcohol;
  • control the administration of drugs (when there is a need to take pills).

A healthy lifestyle will help not only to avoid heart problems, but also improve the well-being of all organs and systems of the body. In addition, it will be useful to undergo an annual physical examination to monitor cardiac function. But in the event of alarming symptoms, when respiratory arrhythmia is disturbing regularly, it is better to immediately seek help from a specialist and immediately begin a course of therapy.

How is the treatment carried out?

If respiratory arrhythmia is the only symptom in a child, it does not require treatment. Therapy is prescribed only in situations where such a rhythm disturbance is a symptom of more serious diseases.

Depending on the results of the examination, treatment is prescribed. The respiratory type of arrhythmia itself does not require treatment.

A feature of therapy is that it is not necessary to drink a course of medicines. To begin with, the doctor will prescribe a therapeutic diet, especially if the patient is overweight. For this, the consumption of fatty, salty foods and sweets is limited. Further recommendations will follow on how to get rid of the source of stress, and pay attention to physical activity.

Acupuncture and physiotherapy have positively proven themselves. In some cases, psychotherapy is useful. If the heartbeat is very worried, antiarrhythmic drugs are prescribed that quickly stop the pain in the chest. In addition, for the calm of nerves it is allowed to take sedatives, to make herbal teas.

Heart rhythm disturbances due to frequent breathing in childhood and adolescence are not fraught with complications, as they will pass on their own with age, but provided that there is no cardiac pathology. At a more advanced age, sinus arrhythmia can be an indicator of a violation of cardiac activity, which in itself is fraught with complications in the form of heart failure, a defect or a heart attack. In fact, DA does not carry dangerous complications, pathologies that cause arrhythmia are dangerous.

Sinus respiratory arrhythmia: what is the disease?

Respiratory arrhythmia refers to the physiological pathologies of the heart muscle. In most cases of danger, the disease does not pose a threat to life, does not affect the speed of the pumped blood and its volume. The diagnosis of sinus arrhythmia is often heard by parents of young children or adolescents, while doctors often do not prescribe medication. Who is guilty of an irregular heart rhythm, why does it occur in babies, and is it worth worrying about this?

The vagus nerve is responsible for the development of arrhythmias associated with breathing. In an adult, the heart beats with a frequency of 60 to 80 beats per minute. In children, the pulse is much more frequent, and the younger the child, the faster the heart pumps blood. If the tone of the vagus nerve, which controls the heartbeat, is disturbed, then heart contractions become irregular.

  • in the rehabilitation period after serious illnesses (poisoning, infections, rheumatic heart disease, myocardial infarction);
  • after taking certain medications;
  • during fasting or physical exhaustion of the body;
  • in persons with many years of experience as a smoker;
  • against a background of chronic stress.
  • newborns ahead of schedule, infants with increased intracranial pressure, postnatal encephalopathy;
  • children with rickets;
  • overweight children, overweight (arrhythmia becomes especially evident after active physical activity);
  • children aged 6 to 10 years, when intensive growth does not allow the vegetative system to adapt to the increased needs of the body.

In older people, respiratory arrhythmia accompanies neurocirculatory dystonia, heart defects, obesity, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. In 90% of cases, the heart rate is normalized independently without the intervention of doctors, 10% need control and therapy.

The most common arrhythmia occurs in children. With the respiratory type of the disease, the child does not complain about health, is active, the appetite is normal. The only alarming symptom is a feeling of one’s own heartbeat and a feeling of pulsation in the temporal region.

  • chest pain during exercise (aggravated with frequent inhalation-exhalation);
  • feeling of “failure in the heartbeat”, “sinking of the heart”;
  • unpleasant discomfort in the heart area with temporary interruptions in heart contractions;
  • lack of air;
  • attacks of weakness, dizziness, not associated with other diseases;
  • periodic feeling of heaviness in the chest, shortness of breath.

Signs of arrhythmia in newborns and infants are characteristic. Heart problems are indicated by the cyanosis of the nasolabial triangle, increased sweating, shortness of breath at rest, pallor of the skin, and decreased appetite. Since respiratory arrhythmia is easily confused with the non-respiratory type of sinus arrhythmia, an accurate diagnosis can be established after instrumental diagnosis.

Like other cardiac abnormalities, sinus arrhythmia is easily recognized during an electrocardiogram. This method is the most informative, accessible, it is carried out in the clinic, in the cardiology department and even in the ambulance. The ECG captures the electrical impulses that the heart generates and reproduces them on film.

  • echocardiography – usually applied to adult patients with concomitant heart defects or heart failure, the heart muscle is studied by ultrasonic waves;
  • biochemical and general blood analysis;
  • Ultrasound of the thyroid gland, analysis of its hormones;
  • echocardioscopy of the heart;
  • orthostatic test (study of peripheral blood circulation and its changes in the vertical and horizontal position of the patient).

If the parents suspect a child with a heart rhythm disturbance, you can try to count the pulse at home. It is necessary to grasp the wrist so that only the thumb is left on the outside, and the pulse is counted with four fingers on the inside for a minute.

It is likely that it will be possible to determine different time intervals between heartbeats. For children and adolescents, only an ECG is usually sufficient to make a diagnosis; adults are given increased attention due to the risk of concomitant heart diseases.

Specific treatment of sinus arrhythmias of the respiratory type is necessary only in case of excessively high blood pressure, frequent fainting and pathology caused by external factors. Violation of hemodynamics, intense pain in the heart, shortness of breath and other pronounced symptoms of arrhythmia attacks give rise to the appointment of drug treatment.

  • it is recommended to review the diet, reduce the consumption of spicy, fatty foods, sugary sweet;
  • the menu should be dominated by seasonal vegetables, fruits, and products with a high concentration of vitamin B and potassium (dates, bananas, dried apricots, apricots, nuts, avocados, potatoes, apples);
  • it is advisable to drink a course of vitamin preparations (Asparkam, Panangin, Angiovit, CardioActive);
  • It is worth getting rid of excess weight, which gives an additional burden on the heart;
  • if possible, reduce the number of stressful situations, to normalize sleep, it is recommended to take Glycine, Cavinton or Pantogam.

Acupuncture, physiotherapy with magnetic fields, breathing exercises give an excellent effect. Exercises according to the original methods of Strelnikov or Fokin normalize the heart rhythm and have a calming effect on the nervous system. Breathing exercises have no contraindications, suitable for a patient of any age. Performing breathing exercises for several months can reduce blood pressure without medication.

It is much more difficult for older people to relieve an arrhythmia attack, this category of patients first of all needs to be cured of the root cause (the main cardiological disease against which arrhythmia appeared). The treatment regimen depends on the patient’s age, weight, the presence of chronic diseases, and other cardiac pathologies.

Most cases of childhood respiratory arrhythmias are temporary and do not require treatment. In addition to sinus arrhythmia, the child should not have other cardiological abnormalities, then he will be observed by a cardiologist. Children with such a diagnosis are shown to undergo a control ECG every six months.

Children are imposed a restriction on watching TV, computer games, sweet carbonated drinks are excluded, the amount of coffee and tea consumed is regulated. Medicines are used only with pronounced symptoms: with rapid heartbeat Verapamil, Anaprilin, with a reduced rhythm Itrop, Eufillin.

Very often, arrhythmia develops in overweight children. Therefore, the primary task of parents is to monitor what and in what quantities their child eats. Do not blame children for poor progress or gaps in behavior. Experiences and fears can also become a factor provoking arrhythmia. With proper control, sinus arrhythmia does not threaten the life and health of the child.

One of the most common complications of sinus arrhythmia is bradycardia. This condition is characterized by a slowdown of less than 60 beats per minute. Against the background of bradycardia, a drop in blood pressure occurs, and it in turn reduces working capacity, causes constant fatigue, drowsiness.

Bradycardia is divided into four types:

  1. absolute – heart rate does not depend on external conditions and the state of the body;
  2. relative – heart rate is reduced as a result of a traumatic brain injury, the consequences of severe injuries or in athletes who suffer tremendous physical exertion;
  3. moderate – most often it is this type that accompanies respiratory arrhythmia, in most cases children are exposed to it, who have undergone hypothermia or have experienced severe fright; irregular heartbeat is possible during deep breath or sound sleep;
  4. extracardiac – occurs in parallel with kidney disease, pathologies of the nervous system.
    Moderate bradycardia is very rarely diagnosed, since it practically does not manifest itself. If the heart rate drops to 40 beats per minute, dizziness, shortness of breath, and fainting are possible.
  • shortness of breath, slow heartbeat
  • weakness, sweating
  • decreased attention span
  • fast fatiguability
  • distraction

Drug treatment requires a moderate form of bradycardia with pronounced signs. To normalize the pulse using drugs: Atropine, Ephedrine, Caffeine, ginseng root, Eleutherococcus extract. For the treatment of adults and small patients, almost the same means are used with a difference in dosage. Mild bradycardia in children usually disappears as they grow older and gradually adapt the growing body to stress.

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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.