What is happening when my daughter’s heart starts to race?

Within the last 3 weeks my daughter has had a racing heart beat during physical warm up before her hockey games. All of a sudden her heart races up to over 200 bpm and she feels faint and like she is going to blackout. This lasts about 10 min from start to finish before her heart rate returns to normal. What is happening?

Submitted by Wendy from Canada on 10/01/2014

by Ali Massumi, MD    

This sounds like supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).  It is very unlikely to be ventricular tachycardia.  SVT means an abnormal and rapid heart rate usually due an abnormal electrical circuit.  One should try to catch and document this by heart monitoring for several days with an event monitor.  An echocardiogram is also indicated to show normal structure and function of the heart.  Once the tachycardia is documented and studied on paper, then a cardiac electrophysiologist can give the best advice which often is catheter ablation, which can be curative.