Overview of Heart Murmurs

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heart murmur childHeart murmurs are very common in children. It is an extra sound that your doctor hears while examining your child. Murmurs are produced by the movement of blood through the valves and chambers in your heart. Some murmurs are faint while others can by loud. Murmurs may sound like a swish or an extra“lub-dub.” A heartbeat itself is simply the sound of heart valves closing while blood moves through it.

Heart murmurs fall into two camps: innocent or functional versus abnormal or pathologic. Innocent murmurs are common and occur in everyone at some point in their lives. It does not mean that there is a problem. Many healthy people have innocent murmurs.

Abnormal or pathologic heart murmurs can be a red flag that a problem within the heart exists. These murmurs can be caused by problems with the heart valves or holes in the heart that allows for blood to pass in between heart chambers. Heart defects can be present at birth or happened as a result of an infection or illness.


How the Heart Works

The main job of the heart is to pump blood throughout the body. Blood returns from the body to the right atrium (top chamber) after the body have taken oxygen away to use for energy. Then, blood is pumped by the right ventricle (bottom chamber) to the lungs. In the lungs, oxygen is taken up by the blood and it returns to the left side of the heart called the left atrium. Finally, the left ventricle pumps the blood back out to the body providing it with nourishment and oxygen.
What’s Next

Your doctor will recommend specific instructions on what to do next. It may mean returning for another listen or it may require an appointment with a cardiac specialist. Pediatric cardiologist can help identify heart defects and manage your childs problem. Some people aren’t required to make any changes at all, while others will need to take certain actions, medications, surgeries or otherwise alter their activity levels. However, rest assured that murmurs are relatively common and there are many options for treatment if necessary.

If your child has been diagnosed with a heart murmur, give us a call. Our compassionate, expert staff is here for you.

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