A heart murmur is a sound that occurs between beats of the heart. The sound is made by blood flowing through the heart. It is similar to the sound water makes as it flows through a hose. An innocent murmur is a sound that occurs between heartbeats even though the structure of the heart and blood vessels is normal.
Most adults do not have heart murmurs, but many children do. Several different types of innocent murmurs can happen in childhood. Some happen when a child is very young. Others are heard later in childhood.
Innocent heart murmurs are also called functional, normal, vibratory, or physiologic murmurs. They do not cause any problems.
When the heart beats faster, it changes the rate and amount of blood moving through the heart. This can cause heart murmurs. Some of the conditions that might cause a child's heart to beat faster are:
Innocent heart murmurs do not cause any symptoms.
A heart murmur is usually discovered when your healthcare provider listens to the heart with a stethoscope. Innocent murmurs have a distinctive sound. Your healthcare provider can usually tell the difference between an innocent murmur and a murmur that may be caused by a medical problem.
Your provider will ask about your child's growth and may ask if your child is able to exercise as much as other children of the same age. Usually no tests are needed when an innocent murmur is diagnosed.
No treatments or restrictions are necessary. Children with innocent murmurs can safely participate in sports and other activities.
Innocent heart murmurs may come and go during childhood. Some innocent murmurs begin in early infancy and last less than 6 months. Other innocent murmurs begin in childhood and last until the teens. Some may occur at any age.
When fever or anemia causes a murmur, the murmur goes away when the fever or anemia goes away.
Ask your healthcare provider if and when he or she expects your child's murmur to go away.
Make sure that your child has a physical exam every year.
Call during office hours if: