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Katrina asked...

We moved to Lagos in July. My 10 year old son has fainted three times during soccer this month. Mitigating factors are that it is very hot and humid and he sweats a lot. Coaches are very lax about them having water breaks too. All three instances were 30 minutes into the training. He says he is breathless and gets dizzy and next thing he knows he is on the ground. He doesn't know how he got there. At this time his head is numb, his arms and legs throb, his chest hurts and he is breathless. This is what he says. I don't know how long he is out for and he is ok afterwards except for the breathlessness. He doesn't wee or have anything odd with his mouth. As a baby we did detect a murmur. The doctor here thought he heard it too. Since his evaluation he has had another dizzy spell on Thursday not relating to exercise and last night (Saturday) he complained of pain in his chest. He described this as sharp but it only lasted half an hour. I have been referred to a pediatric cardiologist here. I have not heard of her and am trying to get some information from people here longer as healthcare here is basic. Do you have any advice and in addition, do you have a data base of preferred cardiologists here?

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The Answer

We would agree with the cardiology referral for your son. He may well be experiencing episodes of sudden onset rapid heart rate (arrhythmia), this commonly causes sudden drop of blood pressure which will lead to dizziness, breathlessness and chest pain and can cause fainting episodes. This can be associated with heart valve issues (murmur). If no breathlessness at rest then the affected heart valve has not prolapsed. Until he has been assessed and cleared by a cardiologist we would suggest he does not participate in sports and avoids becoming dehydrated. We would suggest you contact your claims/personal advisory team for a list of preferred paediatric cardiologists in your area.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses

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