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Children's Health

Irregular Heartbeat in 3 Year Old



Hi, I was listening to my 3 year olds heart and noticed that her heart rate will have a normal rythm, then ramp up, ramp down pretty slow then skip a couple beats, normal rythm, ramp up, down pretty slow and then skip again. She is an actve little girl (twin, her sister was just diagnosed with an innocent heart murmur) Both of the twins look pale to me. Should I call her pediatrician about this? Should I be worried? Thank you for any input.


It is always appropriate to bring concerns regarding your children to the attention of your health care professional. Fortunately, you seem to be describing a very common finding in children and young adults called sinus arrhythmia, usually a benign condition, and associated with a heart rate increase and decrease with breathing. 

As for paleness, in the northern hemisphere pallor can be common in the winter months, can be normal based upon your ethnic group, and/or related to nutrition, e.g., too much milk or too little iron rich foods.

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Response by:

Sarah Sauntry, RN, MS, CPNP-PC
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati