I Have A Child Diagnosed With A Heart Rhythm Problem, Should I Buy A Defibrillator For My Home?

Question: I have a child diagnosed with a heart rhythm problem, should I buy a defibrillator for my home?

Answer: If your child was diagnosed with a heart rhythm problem, it may be helpful to have a defibrillator at home. There are two types of defibrillators. One is an ICD or implantable cardioverter defibrillator and that's implanted surgically to recognize life-threatening arrhythmias. There's also an AED or automatic external defibrillator. These devices are approved for children greater than one year of age who may have life-threatening arrhythmias.

By far the majority of children who have fast heart rates, they do not have a life threatening arrhythmia and they're due to a rhythm disturbance called SVT or supraventricular tachycardia. Most children with SVT will not have fainting episodes and they may have palpitations, shortness of breath and lightheadedness, but these are not life-threatening arrhythmias.

So, it's very important to see your pediatric cardiologist or another heart specialist that may be helpful in defining whether or not your child really has a life-threatening arrhythmia and it would be helpful to have an AED at home.