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Innocent murmurs

What is a heart murmur?

A heart murmur is an additional noise made by the heart. It is usually a whooshing noise and can be picked up by a doctor when they listen to your child’s heart with a stethoscope. It is usually the sound of the blood finding its way around the tight bends inside a young child’s heart and resembles a “whooshing” or “swishing” noise.

Heart murmurs are very common in babies and young children. In most cases the heart is working normally and there is not anything to worry about. In fact many young children have heart murmurs and you may never know anything about it.

Why do you hear them more in young children?

Young children have small, slim chests so their hearts are nearer to a stethoscope than those of teenagers and adults, and their heart rate is faster.

Your child has been found to have innocent murmur which means there are no structural abnormalities and nothing further needs to be done.

What is an innocent murmur?

Blood has to find its way around 2 tight bends as it flows through the heart. The flow of blood travelling through the heart and blood vessels in this way can also make a noise, and this is known as an ‘innocent’ murmur.

Innocent murmurs can sometimes come and go, becoming noisier if the heart is beating fast such as after exercise or with a fever, and is quieter as a child sleeps.

As the years go by, the heart rate slows and the heart grows and lies deeper within the body. The normal bends within the heart become less tight, and an innocent murmur therefore disappears.

What should I do if someone hears the murmur again?

If the murmur is heard in the future, then nothing needs to be done as this has been investigated by a cardiologist.

If anyone asks whether your child has any heart problems the answer is no.

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: CRD18

Resource Type: Article

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