Plasma atrial natriuretic peptide was measured in 13 children between the ages of 1 week and 2 years 9 months during atrioventricular re-entrant tachycardia and 15 minutes after the restoration of sinus rhythm. There was a significant decline in atrial natriuretic peptide during sinus rhythm. Plasma concentrations of the peptide were significantly higher during tachycardia in seven infants under 1 year than in the six older children. The heart rates and the duration of tachycardia were not significantly different in the two age groups. Cardiac failure was present in five of seven children under 18 weeks of age during tachycardia but in none of the older children. The plasma concentration of atrial natriuretic peptide did not significantly correlate with duration of tachycardia or heart rate. If tachycardia occurs in young infants the low functional reserve capacity of the developing heart leads to cardiac failure more frequently and it is likely that this was the cause of the significantly higher plasma concentration of atrial natriuretic peptide in the younger children.
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