My daughter has a rapid heart rate. Should I worry?

Children playing

My nine-year-old daughter has a fast resting heart rate – sometimes around 140 beats per minute. Should I be concerned? She’s a normal weight and stays active every day, at home and at school.

Dr Mike Knapton says:

The resting heart rate in adults should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute (bpm), sometimes a little less for those who are very physically fit. In children, these values tend to be higher depending on their age.

There are a large number of reasons for the heart to beat faster than expected, from simple physiological causes, such as excitement or physical activity, to illness, such as a fever, and a range of diseases of the heart or metabolism.

It is worth making an appointment to see your child’s GP, as 140bpm is a little fast for a child of her age. The key here is to find out if there is an underlying problem causing the rapid heartbeat.

Her GP may wish to listen to her heart using a stethoscope and perhaps take an electrocardiogram (ECG) of her heart to check not only the rate but the rhythm too, and possibly a blood test to check for common problems, such as anaemia or an overactive thyroid gland.


Mike KnaptonMeet the expert

Dr Mike Knapton is Associate Medical Director (Prevention and Care) at the BHF, overseeing the strategic role in helping patients and the public reduce their risk of heart disease. He remains a GP and works one day a week at a practice in Cambridge.

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