Heart Murmurs in Children

Heart Murmurs in Children

Parents might worry if they’re told that their child has a heart murmur. However heart murmurs are typical, and numerous kids are discovered to have one at some point. A lot of murmurs are not a cause for issue and won’t affect a child’s health at all.

The term heart murmur isn’t a diagnosis of a health problem or disorder. To much better understand what it does indicate, it assists to know a bit about the heart.

Technically, a heart murmur is just a sound heard between the beats of the heart. When a doctor pays attention to the heart, she hears a sound something like lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. Frequently, the duration in between the lub and the dub and between the dub and the lub is silent. If there is any noise during this duration, it is called a murmur. Although the word is upsetting, murmurs are extremely common, and generally regular (that is, the sounds are bring on by a healthy heart pumping blood typically).

How the Heart Works

The heart has 4 chambers and four valves (which work like one-way doors). The two lower pumping chambers of the heart are called the ventricles, and the two upper filling chambers are the atria (plural of atrium).

These chambers are connected to each other by valves that manage how much blood gets in each chamber at any one time. The valves open and shut with every beat. As the valves shut to control the flow of blood through the heart, they make the” lub-dub” noise we recognize as the heartbeat.

Depending upon an individual’s age, the heart beats about 60 to 120 times every minute. Each heart beat is really two separate noises. The heart goes “lub” with the closing of the valves that manage blood flow from the upper chambers to the lower chambers. Then, as the valves managing blood heading out of the heart close, the heart goes “dub.”

Utilizing a stethoscope, a doctor takes a look at the heart by listening to the sounds it makes. A heart murmur describes an additional noise heard in addition to the “lub-dub.” Sometimes these extra noises are merely the sound of regular blood circulation moving through a typical heart. Other times, a whispering might signify a heart problem.

Detecting a Heart Whispering

Physicians pay attention to the heart by putting a stethoscope on different areas of the chest. It assists if kids are peaceful as the doctor listens, since some heart whisperings are very soft. It’s not uncommon for a murmur to be seen during a regular examination, even if none was heard previously.

Heart murmurs are rated on a scale from 1 to 6 based upon how loud they are. Grade 1 is extremely soft, whereas grade 6 is extremely loud. If a whispering is found, the doctor may refer a child to a pediatric cardiologist for additional examination.

Heart Murmurs in Children

What’s an Innocent Heart Murmur?

The most common type of heart whispering is called functional or innocent. An innocent heart murmur is the noise of blood moving through a normal, healthy heart in a regular method. Simply as you may hear air moving through an air duct or water streaming through a pipeline, medical professionals can hear blood moving through the heart even when there’s no heart problem.

An innocent heart whispering can reoccur throughout youth. Kids with these whisperings don’t require an unique diet, limitation of activities, or other special treatment. Those old adequate to comprehend that they have a heart murmur must be reassured that they aren’t any different from other kids.

Most innocent whisperings will disappear on their own as a child ages.

Genetic Heart Problems

Some murmurs can suggest an issue with the heart. In these cases, physicians will have a child see a pediatric cardiologist. The cardiologist will likely order such tests as a chest X-ray, an EKG (an electrocardiogram), or an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram, or “echo,” is an ultrasound photo of the heart structures (chambers, walls, and valves). It tape-records the motion of the blood through the heart and can measure the direction and speed of blood circulation.

About 1 out of every 100 babies is born with a structural heart problem, or genetic heart flaw. These babies might show signs of the problem as early as the first couple of days of life or they might appear totally healthy up until later on in youth. Some kids will not have any symptoms beyond a heart whispering, while others will have symptoms that might be mistaken for other illnesses or conditions.

Signs of a considerable heart problem in newborns and infants can include:

  • fast breathing
  • trouble feeding
  • blueness in the lips (called cyanosis)
  • failure to prosper

An older child or teenager might:

  • be really exhausted
  • have trouble exercising or doing physical activity
  • have chest pain

Call your doctor if your child has any of these symptoms

Pregnant women have a higher risk of having a baby with a heart defect if they get rubella (German measles), have improperly managed diabetes, or have PKU (phenylketonuria, a genetic error of the body’s metabolism).

Common Heart Defects

Numerous sort of heart issues can cause heart whisperings, consisting of:

  • Septal problems, which involve the walls (or septum) between the upper or lower chambers of the heart. A hole in the septum can let blood circulation through it into the heart’s other chambers. This additional blood circulation may cause a whispering. It can also make the heart work too tough or end up being enlarged. Bigger holes can cause symptoms besides a heart murmur; smaller sized ones might eventually close on their own.
  • Valve problems, brought on by heart valves that are narrow, too small, too thick, or otherwise unusual. These valves don’t allow smooth blood flow across them. In some cases, they can allow backflow of blood within the heart. Either problem will cause a murmur. Outflow tract obstruction may be brought on by additional tissue or heart muscle that blocks the smooth flow of blood through the heart.
  • Heart muscle conditions (cardiomyopathy), which can make the heart muscle unusually thick or weak, hurting its capability to pump blood to the body typically.

Your doctor and a pediatric cardiologist can identify if the whispering is innocent (which means your child is completely healthy) or if there is a particular heart problem. If there is a problem, the pediatric cardiologist will know how to best look after it.

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