Children’s Internationally Recognized Arrhythmia Program Treats Kids with Abnormal Heart Rhythms

Cardiac Arrhythmia
Robert Whitehill, MD, Director, Cardiac Arrhythmia Program and Pediatric Cardiologist

Children who have been diagnosed with an arrhythmia, palpitations or chest pains receive coordinated, specialized care at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center’s Arrhythmia Program. The Children’s Heart Center’s Arrhythmia Program is the largest clinical arrhythmia program in the Southeast, caring for more than 1,000 patients with arrhythmias from before birth through adulthood.

Arrhythmias, or an abnormal rhythm of the heart, may be congenital (present at birth) or they may develop later.

“We take care of all forms of abnormal heartbeats, whether the heart is beating too fast, which is called tachycardia, or too slow, which is called bradycardia,” said Peter Fischbach, MD, pediatric cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology and Heart Center. “Many arrhythmias are just nuisance problems, but some can be life-threatening. We treat and manage the garden variety arrhythmias all the way to the very rare abnormalities that sometimes go along with CHD.”

Children can be referred to the arrhythmia program for several different reasons. Sometimes patients complain of heart pounding or fluttering. Arrhythmia can also be identified through symptoms like chest pains, fainting or it can be identified on an EKG during an evaluation.

Treatments can include monitoring, pharmacological therapies (medicine) or interventional catheter ablations. Arrhythmias also are sometimes treated with implantable devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, or long-term loop recorders to monitor arrhythmias over time. For many patients, treating an arrhythmia can be a curative procedure without need for further cardiovascular follow-up, but other patients will require care for the rest of their lives.

The goal is to return our patients to normal childhood activities as much as possible,” Dr. Fischbach said. “We have helped children who were excluded from sports return to normal participation. Taking part in physical activity as safely as possible is so important to kids who felt different when they were not able to play sports. It’s also great for their wellness and overall well-being.”

The physicians, genetic counselors and nurse practitioners of the Arrhythmia Program manage arrhythmia patients in Georgia and the broader southeast who require advanced therapies. “We are a leader in bringing novel therapies to our patients including new medications for cardiomyopathies, leadless pacemakers, subcutaneous ICDs and the latest in mapping and ablation technology.”, Robert Whitehill, MD, Director of the Arrhythmias Program said.

Additionally, the Arrhythmia Program manages patients at risk for inherited forms of heart disease.  Our Genetic Counseling Program led by Linda Knight and Erin Demo is a national leader in evaluating individuals based on their family history. Their work has led to recognition of our Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Program as a program of excellence by the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, a unique recognition for a pediatric program. With sudden cardiac arrest taking center stage in the news and on social media over the past couple of years, we have the resources to fully evaluate patients and family members to assess risk for inherited heart disease and how they should be managed.



For more information about Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.

Back To Top