Premature Atrial Complexes (PACs) in Children

Premature atrial complexes (PACs), sometimes called atrial premature complexes (APCs), are caused by activation of the electrical system in the top of the heart earlier than expected. This can be due to an early electrical signal coming from the sinus node or an electrical signal coming from somewhere else in the top of the heart. 

Signs and Symptoms

PACs generally do not cause symptoms and are often only found incidentally during evaluation for other problems. Some patients may report feeling a “skipped beat”, “extra beat”, “hard beat” in their heart rhythm.

Diagnosis

Your doctor or healthcare team may refer you to a pediatric electrophysiologist (EP) or someone who specializes in children with heart rhythm disorders.

PACs are diagnosed when they are seen on a heart rhythm recording. These could include but not limited to:

Treatment

If a patient does not have any other heart problems, PACs by themselves are considered benign and do not require any treatment.

Lifestyle changes

There are no lifestyle changes required for patients with PACs.

Keep Exploring

Heart Rhythm Disorders
Millions of people experience irregular or abnormal heartbeats, called arrhythmias, at some point in their lives. Most of the time, they are harmless and happen in healthy people free of heart disease. However, some abnormal heart rhythms can be serious or even deadly. Having other types of heart disease can also increase the risk of arrhythmias.
Pediatrics and Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)
This section is for pediatric patients and families living with heart rhythm disorders and heart rhythm disorders related to congenital heart disease (CHD).
Early Warning Signs
If you are experiencing a racing, pounding, rumbling or flopping feeling in your chest or if you have been fainting, having repeated dizzy spells, feeling lightheaded or you are extremely fatigued, it's time to see a doctor to discuss your heart health.
Common Treatments
Learning about the underlying cause of any heart rhythm disorder provides the basis for selecting the best treatment plan. Information and knowledge about care options, and their risks and benefits help you work with your health care provider to make the best choices.
Lifestyle
Since other heart disorders increase the risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms, lifestyle changes often are recommended. Living a “heart healthy” lifestyle can ease the symptoms experienced with heart rhythm disorders and other heart disorders, and can be beneficial to overall patient health.
The Normal Heart
The heart is a fist-sized muscle that pumps blood through the body 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, without rest. The normal heart is made up of four parts: two atria on the top of the heart (right atrium and left atrium), and two ventricles (right ventricle and left ventricle) which are the muscular chambers on the bottom of the heart that provide the major power to pump blood.