Your heart typically makes a “lub-dub” sound. The “lub” sound is the sound of the valves that control blood going from the upper chambers to the lower chambers closing and the “dub” sound is the sound of your heart chambers that control blood going out of the heart closing.
When you have a heart murmur, there is an extra sound of blood flowing besides that “lub-dub.” Heart murmurs can be detected as a whooshing sound through a stethoscope, which is extra blood flowing through your heart.
Many children are born with heart murmurs and they may outgrow them. However, heart murmurs can also be signs of a heart problem or defect. At Pediatrician Specialty Practices located in Federal Way, Washington, Nauman Ahmad, MD, and our expert team can diagnose and treat heart murmurs at our practice. Here’s what to expect if your child has been diagnosed with a heart murmur.
Causes and symptoms of heart murmurs
There are two types of heart murmurs: innocent heart murmurs and murmurs that signal a congenital heart defect.
An innocent heart murmur is nothing more than the sound of blood moving throughout the heart. The heart is healthy otherwise, and it presents with no symptoms. Children are often diagnosed with innocent heart murmurs and typically outgrow them by adulthood.
About every 1 in 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect or structural heart problem. And a heart murmur can be an indicator of one. Some symptoms of a heart problem can include:
- Rapid breathing
- Bluish skin
- Chest pain
- Heavy sweating
In infants, it can present as trouble feeding or failure to thrive.
Some of the common heart defects that cause heart murmurs are:
- Septal defects
- Valve abnormalities
- Heart muscle disorders
Early detection is key for heart murmurs that are caused by heart problems in order to get proper treatment to avoid complications.
How heart murmurs are diagnosed
In order to know if your child’s heart murmur is innocent or the result of a heart problem, Dr. Ahmad reviews your child’s medical history and symptoms and performs a physical exam while listening to your child’s heart through a stethoscope.
Dr. Ahmad also performs an echocardiogram to see the structure of your child’s heart in detail. He may also want to use an electrocardiogram (EKG) and chest X-rays in order to further exam your child’s heart and look for any irregularities.
How heart murmurs are treated
If your child’s heart murmur is innocent, no treatment is necessary. However, if it isn’t, Dr. Ahmad will help to come up with a treatment plan that suits your child’s needs best. This can include taking medication, undergoing a surgical procedure, or having a heart transplant.
If you suspect that your child is having some issues with their heart, don’t hesitate to call our office to have your child be seen by our team. To set up an appointment, simply give us a call or use our online booking tool today.