Heart Rate Altered
The heart rate, usually measured by checking the arterial pulse or sounds counting the times of the heart beat, is considered one of the vital ...

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Definition

The heart rate is the number of beats (rhythmic contractions) per minute of the heart (the muscular organ in the center of the chest that maintains circulation of the blood) and is a measure of cardiac activity.

Alternative Names

Heart rate changed, changes in heart rate, pulse rate changed

Synopsis

The heart rate, usually measured by checking the arterial pulse or sounds counting the times of the heart beat, is considered one of the vital signs. Vital signs – body temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure provide information about the state of health of a person and, if abnormal,offer clues to problems. The heart rate is the number of time the heart beats per minute and is usually measured by holding a finger over the radial artery at the wrist. Other places it can be measured are at the neck (carotid artery), the groin (femoral artery) and the feet (dorsalis pedis or anterior tibial arteries.

  • The resting adult heart rate is normally 60-100 beats per minute.
  • Athletes may have a lower normal heart rate.
  • The normal heart rate for children aged 1-8 years is 80-100 beats per minute
  • The normal heart rate for infants age 1 to 12 months is 100 to 120 beats per minute
  • The normal heart rate for newborns (under one month old) is 120 to 160 beats per minute

The heart rate should be strong and regular with out any missed beats. Any changes or alterations can indicate a medical problem. Check your own pulse when you feel sick, feel dizzy, feel your heart racing or beating irregularly. Provide this information to your doctor to help assess your health status. Check your pulse regularly if you take medications like digoxin or beta blockers that affect your heart rate.

Associated Diagnoses

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Pain
  • Thyroid disease
  • Anemia
  • Blood loss
  • Dehydration
  • Heart disease
  • Side effects of medications
  • Infections
  • Drug abuse

Treatments

Assess and treat underlying condition.

Call your provider :

With any alteration in heart rate outside of the normal ranges stated above.

Call 911:

If you experience any of these symptoms along with a change in your heart rate:

  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Passing out or fainting
  • Sweating profusely
  • Bleeding
  • Arm pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Severe headache
  • Blindness or visual change
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pallor (pale skin)
  • Cyanosis (skin turns blue)
  • Disorientation

Written by: JC Jones MA, RN
Reviewed by: Paul Auerbach, MD
Written: September 7, 2007
Last Updated: September 30, 2007
Published By: Healthline Networks Inc.
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