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Causes of wide QRS complex tachycardia in children

Susan P Etheridge, MD
Section Editor
John K Triedman, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Wide QRS tachycardia may be due to ventricular tachycardia (VT), supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) with aberrant conduction, or atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT) with an accessory pathway. Children with wide QRS complex tachycardia may present with hemodynamic instability, and if not urgently treated, serious morbidity or death may occur. (See "Pediatric advanced life support (PALS)".)

Causes of wide QRS complex tachycardia in children will be reviewed here. The evaluation and management of wide QRS complex tachycardia in children are discussed separately. (See "Management and evaluation of wide QRS complex tachycardia in children".)


The following terms are used throughout this topic:

Tachycardia – Tachycardia in children is generally defined as a heart rate above the normal range for age (ie, >160 beats per minute [BPM] for infants under age two, >140 BPM for children two to twelve years, and >100 BPM for adolescents and adults (table 1)).

Wide QRS complex – Wide QRS complex is defined by a QRS duration >80 msec in younger children and >100 msec in adolescents.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 23, 2016.
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