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Infant Heart Murmurs

Question

My 11-week-old was said to have a flow murmur. Should I be concerned?

Answer

When parents hear that their child has a murmur, they are often quite concerned. Some murmurs do signal serious problems in the heart. Others, however, are no problem at all. When people hear the "lub-dub" that they think is the heart beating, they are really listening to the sounds of the valves in the heart closing. The heartbeat itself -- the contraction of the heart muscle to pump out the blood -- is silent. Most of the time, blood flowing through the heart is also silent. When the turbulence of blood flowing through the heart can be heard, the person is said to have a murmur (like the murmuring of a babbling brook).

Some murmurs indicate an abnormality in the structure of the valves or walls of the heart, or of the major blood vessels. A flow murmur, however, arises from normal hearts, and represents no problem whatsoever. At least 80 percent of kids have an innocent murmur at some time during childhood. I believe that all kids probably do and that we just don't happen to listen at the right moment in some of them.

Parents often ask me if a flow murmur will go away. I usually reply that since it is a normal noise, arising from a normal heart, it doesn't really matter if it disappears or not. In point of fact, though, functional murmurs often do go away. This too shall pass.

 

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

When to Worry: Heart Murmur
When to Worry: Heart Murmur