What Is a Heart Murmur?
"Murmur" refers to an extra sound made as the blood whooshes through the heart. Instead of lub-dup, it sounds like lub-shh-dup. Most murmurs are as harmless as they are common: Up to 90 percent of kids have a heart murmur at some point, although only 20 to 30 percent are actually diagnosed, usually in kids ages 2 to 5. At least 80 percent of those diagnoses fall under the category of "innocent" (i.e., functional or normal), says Boston pediatric cardiologist Jack Rychik, MD. Innocent means nothing is wrong, the murmur will likely disappear, and it will cause no future problems. And even among those few that further raise eyebrows and are followed up with an echocardiogram, most turn out to be benign.
Rachelle Vander Schaaf, a mother of two, lives in eastern Pennsylvania.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, February 2006.
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