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CARDIAC TERMS

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An ECG is a simple, noninvasive procedure. Electrodes are placed on the skin of the chest and connected in a specific order to a machine that, when turned on, measures electrical activity all over the heart. Output usually appears on a long scroll of paper that displays a printed graph of activity on a computer screen.

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD)

ARVD is a rare type of cardiomyopathy. It occurs if the muscle tissue in the right ventricle dies and is replaced with scar tissue. This disrupts the heart’s electrical signals and causes arrhythmias. Symptoms include palpitations and fainting after physical activity. Palpitations are feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering or beating too hard or too fast. ARVD usually affects teens or young adults. It can cause sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes.

Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib)

The A Fib heart in a child functions similarly to the A Fib heart in an adult, with multiple electrical signals firing form various locations in or around the heart causing the atria to fibrillate, or “quiver”. This, in turn, causes the ventricles to contract at an abnormal rate and less effectively.

Brugada Syndrome

Brugada syndrome is a condition that causes the disruption of the heart’s normal rhythm. Specifically, this disorder can lead to irregular heartbeats in the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles), which is an abnormality called ventricular arrhythmia.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Most often diagnosed during infancy or adolescence, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the second most common form of heart muscle disease, is usually genetically transmitted, and comprises about 35-40% of cardiomyopathies in children. “Hypertrophic” refers to an abnormal growth of muscle fibers in the heart. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the thick heart muscle is stiff, making it difficult for the heart to relax and for blood to fill the heart chambers. While the heart squeezes normally, the limited filling prevents the heart from pumping enough blood, especially during exercise. 

Long QT Syndrome

Long QT Syndrome is a heart rhythm condition that can potentially cause fast, chaotic heartbeats. These rapid heartbeats might trigger a sudden fainting spell or seizure.

Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW)

In WPW syndrome, an extra electrical pathway between your heart’s upper and lower chambers causes a rapid heartbeat. Although WPW pattern is often harmless, doctors might recommend further evaluation before children with WPW pattern participate in high-intensity sports.