Innocent Murmur
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Innocent Heart Murmurs of Childhood

What is an innocent heart murmur?

Heart murmurs are extra noises heard with each heartbeat. Many, but not all, murmurs occur even though the heart and blood vessels are completely normal. Murmurs in people that have a normal heart and blood vessels are called innocent murmurs. There are several different types of innocent murmurs that occur in childhood. Some occur when the child is very young and others later in childhood.

What causes innocent heart murmurs?

Murmurs are caused by blood flowing turbulently through the heart, like the sound of a stream flowing into a whitewater pool. A murmur can occur in several different parts of the heart and blood vessels even though the heart is completely normal.

Are innocent murmurs common?

Innocent murmurs occur in about half of all children at some time during childhood.

How are innocent murmurs diagnosed?

To diagnose an innocent murmur, your health care provider will ask about your child's growth and ability to exercise as much as other children the same age. Your child's provider will carefully listen to the heart.

Innocent murmurs have distinctive qualities. Your provider can usually tell the difference between an innocent murmur and a murmur that can cause problems. It is not necessary to have any tests done when an innocent murmur is diagnosed, unless advised by your health care provider.

How long do innocent murmurs last?

Some innocent murmurs begin in early infancy and last less than 6 months. Other innocent murmurs begin in childhood and last until the teenage years. Still other innocent murmurs occur at any age. Ask your health care provider if and when she expects your child's murmur to go away.

Is any treatment necessary for innocent murmurs?

No special treatments or restrictions are necessary. Children with innocent murmurs can safely participate in sports and other vigorous activities.

When should I call my child's health care provider?

Call during office hours if:

  • Your child has a decrease in growth rate or ability to exercise.
  • You have additional questions about innocent heart murmurs.

Written by Robert M. Brayden, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2005-10-24
Last reviewed: 2005-08-23

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

Pediatric Advisor 2005.4 Index
Pediatric Advisor 2005.4 Credits

Copyright 2005 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.

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Last modified: 04/30/05