Complex atrial tachycardias and respiratory syncytial virus infections in infants

Richard L. Donnerstein, Robert A. Berg, Ziad Shehab, Marc Ovadia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common cause of respiratory infections in children, has only rarely been associated with acquired heart disease. We reviewed hospital charts, rhythm strips, and electrocardiograms of 8 infants with abnormal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), 〉250 beats/min, associated with acute RSV infections. Cultures of nasopharyngeal specimens from six of eight infants grew RSV. Two infants with negative viral culture results had symptoms typical of an RSV infection during a documented RSV epidemic. Two infants had congenital heart defects. Seven of the eight infants had an ectopic atrial tachycardia, chaotic atrial tachycardia, or atrial flutter, and five of eight had episodes of nonsustained wide-complex SVT. One patient was initially treated with intravenously administered lidocaine for an incorrect diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia. SVT was unrelated to either β-agonist therapy or hypoxic episodes. SVT did not recur after discharge in any infant with a structurally normal heart. Both patients with structural heart disease had recurrences of SVT. We conclude that RSV infections in infants may be associated with unusual atrial tachycardias and that the diagnosis may be complicated by episodes of nonsustained, wide-complex tachycardias. In patients with RSV and structurally normal hearts, chaotic and ectopic atrial tachycardias are self-limited and do not require prolonged drug therapy. (J PEDIATR 1994;125:23-8)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • RSV
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • SVT
  • Supraventricular tachycardia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Complex atrial tachycardias and respiratory syncytial virus infections in infants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this