Heart murmurs in children

Heart murmur are an additional sounds to the heart beat, and not uncommon to have in early childhood, and usually picked up by doctor during a routine examination of children.

What causes heart murmurs in children?

Heart murmurs are usually caused by either by a noise in the blood vessels due to turbulence of flow, or sometimes may be caused due to some changes in the structure of heart.

It is often benign and harmless, however this needs to be checked by the doctor at first instance.

In certain cases there may be difficulties in the blood flow causing mixing of clean and used blood, and children usually present with blue spells in very early childhood, or during the new born period.

How are heart murmurs diagnosed?

Heart murmur is usually picked up during routine examination.  Doctor may decide to go for few more investigation such as Electrocardiogram (an investigation to read the electrical activity of heart), and/or Echocardiogram (an ultrasound of heart). Very rarely a child may need more investigations and depending on needs it is only advised by a heart specialist.

Is it dangerous to have heart murmur?

Heart murmurs are often benign and harmless. Many of heart murmurs are caused by a simple turbulence of blood, often listened when a child is unwell, and disappear at other times. This is called ‘Innocent murmur’ and does not require any treatment.

Sometimes the child may have a small structural defect in the wall between 2 big chambers of heart, and it usually closes itself by 5 years of age in about half of the cases requiring no treatment.

However it is always advised to be seen by a specialist/paediatrician if you suspect or have been told that the child has heart murmur.

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Heart murmurs in children


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