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There is sparse literature on cardiac arrhythmias and the utility of ambulatory rhythm monitoring in patients with postural tachycardia syndrome and orthostatic intolerance. This study’s primary aim was to investigate the prevalence of arrhythmias in this population. Knowing the prevalence and types of arrhythmias in dysautonomia patients could influence the decision to pursue ambulatory rhythm monitoring and ultimately guide therapy.
This retrospective descriptive study examined the frequency of cardiac arrhythmias, as detected by ambulatory rhythm monitoring, in children with postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance or syncope who were seen at the Children’s National Hospital Electrophysiology Clinic between January 2001 and December 2020.
In postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance patients, arrhythmia was detected on 15% of 332 ambulatory rhythm monitors. In syncope patients, arrhythmia was detected on 16% of 157 ambulatory rhythm monitors, not significantly different from the postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance group. The difference in rate of arrhythmia detection between 24-hour Holter and 2-week Zio® monitoring was not statistically significant.
This study suggests that a substantial proportion of postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance patients may have concomitant underlying cardiac arrhythmias, at a frequency similar to what is seen in patients undergoing primary evaluation for cardiac symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, and syncope. In the appropriate clinical context, physicians caring for postural tachycardia syndrome/orthostatic intolerance patients should consider additional evaluation for arrhythmias beyond sinus tachycardia.
Congenital junctional ectopic tachycardia is a rare but serious cardiac arrhythmia seen in neonates and young infants. It is frequently resistant and refractory to first-line treatment options such as cardioversion with adenosine and direct current shock, and it carries a high morbidity and mortality rate. The aim of this article is to present the case of congenital junctional ectopic tachycardia observed in a 14-day-old neonate, highlighting the role of ivabradine in the management, followed by a discussion about current approaches to treatment.
Many children diagnosed with COVID-19 infections did not require hospitalisation. Our objective was to analyse electrocardiographic changes in children with asymptomatic, mild or moderate COVID-19 who did not require hospitalisation
All children are seen in a paediatric cardiology clinic who had asymptomatic, mild or moderate COVID-19 that did not require hospitalisation and had at least one electrocardiogram after their diagnosis were included in this retrospective analysis. Records were reviewed to determine COVID-19 disease severity and presence of Long COVID. Rhythm assessment, atrial enlargement, ventricular hypertrophy, PR/QRS/QT interval duration and ST-T wave abnormalities were analysed by a paediatric electrophysiologist. Clinically ordered echocardiograms were reviewed for signs of myopericarditis (left ventricular ejection fraction and pericardial effusion) on any subject with an electrocardiographic abnormality.
Of the 82 children meeting inclusion criteria (14.4 years, range 1–18 years, 57% male), 17 patients (21%) demonstrated electrocardiographic changes. Ten patients (12%) had electrocardiogram of borderline significance, which included isolated mild PR prolongation or mild repolarisation abnormalities. The other seven patients (9%) had concerning electrocardiographic findings consisting of more significant repolarisation abnormalities. None of the patients with an abnormal electrocardiogram revealed any echocardiographic abnormality. All abnormal electrocardiograms normalised over time except in two cases. Across the entire cohort, greater COVID-19 disease severity and long COVID were not associated with electrocardiographic abnormalities.
Electrocardiographic abnormalities are present in a minority of children with an asymptomatic, mild or moderate COVID-19 infection. Many of these changes resolved over time and no evidence of myopericarditis was present on echocardiography.
Telemedicine gained an increasing use throughout the last years. Lifestyle tools like the Apple watch seem to have an increasing spread even in remote areas and underdeveloped regions. The increasing availability of these tools offers the chance to use the health care functions of these devices to improve provision of professional medical care. First data on the use of the Apple Watch as a remote monitoring device in children have been reported, showing good acceptability and usability of the Apple Watch for symptom monitoring in children. This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of the Apple Watch iECG in comparison to a standard 12-lead ECG in pre-term babies.
In this prospective, single-arm study, consecutive preterm neonates hospitalised in Leipzig University Hospital neonatal ICU were eligible. A 12-lead ECG and an iECG using Apple Watch 4 were performed. iECG and 12-lead ECG measurements were performed by a paediatric cardiologist. Cardiac rhythm was classified and amplitudes and timing intervals were analysed for comparability.
Fifty preterm neonates, gestational week (23–36 weeks), and body weight (0.65–3.09 kg) were enrolled. Overall good quality and excellent correlation of the Apple Watch generated iECG in comparison to the standard 12-lead ECG could be demonstrated (p < 0.001). When interpreted by a paediatric cardiologist, a correct rhythm classification could be done in 100% of cases.
The Apple Watch iECG seems to be a valuable tool to record an ECG comparable to lead I of the standard 12-lead ECG even in pre-term neonates. With a widespread availability and excellent connectivity, the Apple Watch iECG function may provide practitioners with a tool to send an iECG for interpretation to a paediatric cardiac specialist.
Ventricular repolarisation can be influenced by hormonal milieu which may mimic long QT syndrome. We describe a series of patients referred for genetic testing for diagnosed long QT syndrome where a detailed clinical workup demonstrated endocrinopathies as the cause of presumed “gene negative” long QT syndrome and QT prolongation.
Reflex-mediated syncope occurs in 15% of children and young adults. In rare instances, pacemakers are required to treat syncopal episodes associated with transient sinus pauses or atrioventricular block. This study describes a single centre experience in the use of permanent pacemakers to treat syncope in children and young adults.
Materials and methods:
Patients with significant pre-syncope or syncope and pacemaker implantation from 1978 to 2018 were reviewed. Data collected included the age of presentation, method of diagnosis, underlying rhythm disturbance, age at implant, type of pacemaker implanted, procedural complications and subsequent symptoms.
Fifty patients were identified. Median age at time of the first syncopal episode was 10.2 (range 0.3–20.4) years, with a median implant age of 14.9 (0.9–34.3) years. Significant sinus bradycardia/pauses were the predominant reason for pacemaker implant (54%), followed by high-grade atrioventricular block (30%). Four (8%) patients had both sinus pauses and atrioventricular block documented. The majority of patients had dual-chamber pacemakers implanted (58%), followed by ventricular pacemakers (38%). Median follow-up was 6.7 (0.4–33.0) years. Post-implant, 4 (8%) patients continued to have syncope, 7 (14%) had complete resolution of their symptoms, and the remaining reported a decrease in their pre-syncopal episodes and no further syncope. Twelve (24%) patients had complications, including two infections and eight lead malfunctions.
Paediatric patients with reflex-mediated syncope can be treated with pacing. Complication rates are high (24%); as such, permanent pacemakers should be reserved only for those in whom asystole from sinus pauses or atrioventricular block has been well documented.
Expert guidance from scientific societies and regulatory agencies recommend a framework of principles for frequency of in-person evaluations and remote monitoring for patients with cardiac implantable electronic devices. However, there are limited data regarding adherence to recommendations among paediatric electrophysiologists, and there are no data regarding cardiac implantable electronic device-related ancillary testing.
To assess current clinical practices for cardiac implantable electronic device in-person evaluation, remote monitoring, and cardiac implantable electronic device-related ancillary testing, the Paediatric and Congenital Electrophysiology Society members were surveyed. The main outcome measures were variations in frequency of in person evaluation, frequency of remote monitoring, and cardiac implantable electronic device-related ancillary testing.
All respondents performed in-person evaluation at least once a year, but <50% of respondents performed an in-person evaluation within 2 weeks of cardiac implantable electronic device implantation. Remote monitoring was performed every 3 months for pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators by 71 and 75% respondents, respectively. Follow-up echocardiography was performed every 2–3 years by 53% respondents for patients with >50% ventricular pacing. Majority of respondents (75%) did not perform either an exercise stress test or ambulatory Holter monitoring or chest X-ray (65%) after cardiac implantable electronic device implantation.
This survey identified significant practice variations in cardiac implantable electronic device in- person evaluation, remote monitoring, and ancillary testing practices among paediatric electrophysiologists. Cardiac implantable electronic device management may be optimised by development of a paediatric-specific guidelines for follow-up and ancillary testing.
We present the case of a 5-month-old infant with tetralogy of Fallot and congenital atrio-ventricular block that developed severe left ventricular dysfunction during apical left ventricular pacing, in which cardiac resynchronisation therapy was used as an emergency procedure due to persistent low cardiac output syndrome.
The aim of the study was to revise our more recent experience about epicardial posterior-septal accessory pathways radiofrequency transcatheter ablation in children and young patients using a transvenous approach through the coronary sinus, to understand if new mapping and ablation technologies can increase success rate and safety.
Methods and results:
Twenty children (mean age 13 ± 3 years) with epicardial posterior-septal accessory pathways (14 in coronary sinus and 6 in the middle cardiac vein) underwent radiofrequency transcatheter ablation with CARTO-3® system with help of the CARTO-Univu® module. Acute success rate was 73%. No patient was lost to follow-up (mean time 11.4 ± 9 months). The recurrence rate was 19%. Two patients underwent a successful redo-procedure; the overall long-term success rate was 65%. Navistar® catheter presented the highest acute success rate in the coronary sinus. Navistar SmartTouch® was the only catheter that did not present recurrences after the acute success, and it was successfully used in two patients previously unsuccessfully treated with a Navistar ThermoCool®. Acute success rate was 79% without image integration with angio-CT, while it was 63% after the introduction of CARTO-Merge®.
Epicardial posterior-septal accessory pathways can be definitively eliminated by transvenous radiofrequency transcatheter ablation in more than half of the cases in children. Acute success rate does not seem to depend on catheters used, but contact-force catheter seems to be useful in cases with recurrences. Image integration with cardiac-CT does not increase success rate, but it is useful to detect coronary sinus alterations to better guide ablation strategy.
Hyperthermia is defined as an elevated body temperature above the normal range due to a failure of heat regulatory mechanisms. In addition to its effects on other organ systems, hyperthermia is associated with profound cardiovascular effects. We report the sentinel case of a 6-year-old girl with structurally and electrically normal heart, who presented with life-threatening hyperpyrexia-induced ventricular tachycardia, which was refractory to cardioversion and anti-arrhythmics but responded promptly to cooling. We emphasise the lifesaving role of immediate and aggressive cooling in such patients.
Newborn male with symptomatic bradycardia initially diagnosed with complete atrioventricular block. Isoproterenol drip was initiated, and the patient was scheduled for pacemaker implantation. During the hospital course, repeat electrocardiogram and Holter monitor revealed evidence of near continuous blocked atrial bigeminy with occasional aberrantly conducted premature atrial contractions. Flecainide was started, resulting in normal sinus rhythm, and the pacemaker implantation was cancelled.
Noonan syndrome is a genetic disorder characteried by short stature, typical facial features, developmental delay, and CHD. In this single-centre retrospective study, we analysed typical Noonan syndrome-related electrocardiographic features in 95 patients with clinically and molecularly confirmed Noonan syndrome. Typical Noonan syndrome-related electrocardiographic features are left axis deviation, small left precordial R-waves, large right precordial S-waves, abnormal Q-wave, and abnormal wide QRS complex. In this representative cohort, CHD was found in 59 patients (62.1%) and typical Noonan syndrome-related electrographic features in 60 patients (63.2%). The typical Noonan syndrome-related electrographic features were also increased over baseline in patients without CHD (41.7%). Of all 95 patients, left axis deviation was seen in 46.3%, small left precordial R-waves in 30.5%, large right precordial S-waves in 5.3%, and abnormal Q-wave and wide QRS complex in 2.1%. There was no significant difference in the frequency of the individual-specific electrographic features between the group with CHD and the group without CHD. However, there were significantly more patients with a small left precordial R-wave in the subgroup with pulmonary stenosis compared to patients without pulmonary stenosis. Conclusion: Specific Noonan syndrome-related electrographic features are frequently present in patients with Noonan syndrome, also in the absence of CHD. These results suggest that there may be a continuum of cardiac anomalies from overt CHD to milder abnormalities that are only seen on electrocardiogram.
Accelerated idioventricular rhythm is a rare but benign form of ventricular tachycardia which might be challenging to differentiate from other more worrisome forms. We present the case of a healthy newborn diagnosed with an accelerated idioventricular rhythm which is spontaneously terminated without the need for medical therapy.
This case illustrates acute myocarditis with complete heart block in a 13-year-old teenager as a rare complication of acute dengue illness. He required urgent temporary pacing with inotropic support and antifailure medications. Complete heart block in dengue myocarditis is an acute but reversible condition. A similar presentation in a dengue-endemic country or with a history of travelling to tropical countries warrants a suspicion of dengue infection.
Accessory pathways are commonly seen due to delamination of tricuspid valve leaflets. In addition to accessory pathways, an enlarged right atrium due to tricuspid regurgitation and incisional scars creates substrates for atrial re-entries and ectopic tachycardia. We sought to describe our experience with catheter ablation in children with Ebstein’s anomaly.
Methods and results:
During the study period, of 89 patients diagnosed with Ebstein’s anomaly, 26 (30.9%) of them who underwent 33 ablation procedures were included in the study. Accessory pathways were observed in the majority of procedures (n = 27), whereas atrial flutter was observed in five, atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia in five, and atrial tachycardia in two procedures. Accessory pathways were commonly localised in the right posteroseptal (n = 10 patients), right posterolateral (n = 14 patients), septal (n = two patients), and left posteroseptal (n = one patient) areas. Multiple accessory pathways and coexistent arrhythmia were observed in six procedures. All ablation attempts related to the accessory pathways were successful, but recurrence was observed in five (19%) of the ablations. Ablation for atrial flutter was performed in five patients; two of them were ablated successfully. One of the atrial tachycardia cases was ablated successfully.
Ablation in patients with Ebstein’s anomaly is challenging, and due to nature of the disease, it is not a rare occasion in this group of patients. Ablation of accessory pathways has high success, but also relatively high recurrence rates, whereas ablation of atrial arrhythmias has lower success rates, especially in operated patients.
Anorexia nervosa has a prevalence of 0.5–3% in adolescents, placing this population at increased risk of cardiac anomalies including arrhythmias, pericardial effusion, and myocardial dysfunction. Our objective is to describe cardiovascular anomalies observed by tissue Doppler imaging in patients with anorexia nervosa.
We retrospectively reviewed electrocardiogram, Holter, and echocardiography findings in 28 patients diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.
Electrocardiogram was abnormal in 71% of patients with sinus bradycardia observed in 57%. Holter confirmed sinus bradycardia without significant pauses. Prolonged QTc, low voltage, and ectopic beats were each seen in 14% of patients. Wenckebach atrioventricular block was observed in one patient. Supraventricular or ventricular tachycardia was not observed. Echocardiography showed structurally normal heart in all patients. Pericardial effusion was seen in 7.1% of patients and left ventricular mass was decreased in 10.7%. Mean ejection fraction was 0.73 and mean fractional shortening was 38.4%. Tissue Doppler imaging revealed systolic or diastolic dysfunction in four patients with e’, a’, and s’ velocities in the lateral and septal basal segments more than two standard deviations below the mean. Two patients had decreased left ventricular mass but no significant difference in disease duration from the group. Basal segment velocities below one standard deviation were also observed in an additional seven patients.
A trend for decreased tissue Doppler imaging velocities was seen in 25.0% of patients, while significant systolic and diastolic dysfunction was seen in 14.3% of patients, associated with a significant reduction in left ventricular mass and independent of disease duration.
Flecainide overdose is associated with an approximately 10% mortality rate. The drug’s slow rate of elimination and high oral bioavailability make successful management extremely challenging. I present the management of a life-threatening flecainide overdose of an infant who had a protracted course due to the exposure to the drug in both the fetal and neonatal periods.
We describe an adolescent with Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis and symptomatic high-grade, second-degree atrioventricular block requiring permanent pacemaker placement. It is difficult to ascertain if these two diagnoses were independent or had a causal relationship though ongoing symptoms were not present prior to the infection. Because of this uncertainty, awareness that rhythm disturbances can be cardiac in origin but also secondary to other aetiologies, such as infection, is warranted.
Congenital heart block is a rare and lethal condition in paediatric population associated with maternal connective tissue disorders and rarely with structural cardiac disease like atrioventricular canal defects with or without left isomerism and congenitally corrected transposition of great arteries. Pacing in neonate if indicated is generally accomplished by epicardial pacing systems. However, in cases of significant bradycardia and haemodynamic instability, temporary pacemaker implantation via transvenous approach remains as a suitable option. Despite the advances in percutaneous catheter interventions, use of transvenous pacing in newborn is extremely challenging due to inadvertent risk of vessel injury, thrombus formation and mortality, and most of the time technical inability to place the lead within the right ventricular cavity. We report a case of congenital complete atrioventricular block in a premature male with birth weight of 1.51 kg who was managed with temporary pacemaker implantation through umbilical vein.
Catheter ablation is a safe and effective therapy for the treatment of supraventricular tachycardia in children. Current improvements in technology have allowed progressive reduction in radiation exposure associated with the procedure. To assess the impact of three-dimensional mapping, we compared acute procedural results collected from the Catheter Ablation with Reduction or Elimination of Fluoroscopy registry to published results from the Prospective Assessment after Pediatric Cardiac Ablation study.
Inclusion and exclusion criteria from the Prospective Assessment after Pediatric Cardiac Ablation study were used as guidelines to select patient data from the Catheter Ablation with Reduction or Elimination of Fluoroscopy registry to compare acute procedural outcomes between cohorts. Outcomes assessed include procedural and fluoroscopy exposure times, success rates of procedure, and complications.
In 786 ablation procedures, targeting 498 accessory pathways and 288 atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia substrates, average procedural time (156.5 versus 206.7 minutes, p < 0.01), and fluoroscopy time (1.2 versus 38.3 minutes, p < 0.01) were significantly shorter in the study group. Success rates for the various substrates were similar except for manifest accessory pathways which had a significantly higher success rate in the study group (96.4% versus 93.0%, p < 0.01). Major complication rates were significantly lower in the study group (0.3% versus 1.6%, p < 0.01).
In a large, multicentre study, three-dimensional systems show favourable improvements in clinical outcomes in children undergoing catheter ablation of supraventricular tachycardia compared to the traditional fluoroscopic approach. Further improvements are anticipated as technology advances.