“It all started as I was driving my 14 year old son, John, home from band practice. He turned to me and said that his heart was “racing”. So, being a medical professional, I sort of blew it off and told him it was probably from working so hard at band practice and it should calm down in a few minutes. It continued so I reached over and took his pulse and it was way too fast, too fast to count. John said that he felt his heart race off and on, lasting a few minutes at a time, but it had been doing this for years. He never told me about it before because it never made him feel bad and it went away with yawning.
I called the pediatrician and the KMS pediatric cardiologist, Dr. A. We were quickly seen by the KMS cardiologist in his office. He examined John, did an echocardiogram and an EKG. The echocardiogram was normal which meant the anatomical structure of his heart was normal and the EKG was normal which meant, at that specific time, the electrical pathway of the heart was normal. Since John only felt the heart “racing” intermittently, arrangements were made for us to get an event monitor to capture or record the “racing” when he felt it. Dr. A communicated with John on his intelligence level while reassuring him, realizing John was still a child, a large one, but not an adult.
A few days after carrying around the small event monitor in his pocket or backpack he felt his heart “racing”, put the monitor up to his chest and pushed a button to record his heart rhythm. We then called the monitor company and transferred the recording to them just by holding the monitor up to the phone and pushing a button. It was incredibly easy. The cardiologist called us a few minutes later to tell us John had an arrhythmia called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).
We were referred to an Electro-physiological Studies (EPS) specialist. John had an extra or accessory electrical pathway in his heart that caused it to occasionally beat too fast. The EPS specialist arranged and performed a procedure called an ablation to correct the abnormal pathway.
What I remember most about the whole experience is that it could have been a very scary situation but it wasn’t because we had a good pediatric cardiologist who we could trust! My husband remembers being very nervous but the cardiologist’s calm manner and good explanation of the condition and plan reassured him. What my son remembers most about the experience is that the SVT recurred a few weeks later and he was one of the 5% who the ablation doesn’t work the first time and he needed a second ablation. Although the first ablation was not traumatic he didn’t want an encore performance. Being still, lying flat on his back, for 6 hours after the ablation was the toughest part for him. The second ablation was successful. He is 21 years old now and no recurrence of SVT.
Throughout the entire process, the KMS cardiologist was not only confident and professional in his medical guidance, but also very supportive to my son, my husband and I.”
Holly, Bill and John