My 4 year old niece saw her pediatrician today because she's been running fever and has had loose stools for 3 days. While the Dr. was listening to her bowel sounds she noted what she thought was an aortic bruit and ordered a doppler study...which cannot be done until next week. My sister is beside herself with concern and a one week wait feels like an eternity (though her Dr. was fine with the wait). While we wait for a definitive answer are there any rather benign reasons why she may have heard a bruit? To the best of my knowledge she has never heard this before and my niece has regular visits. With the fever and loose stools could dehydration be a possible cause? She's normally very active and I've never seen her show any cardiac symptoms. Can you offer us some peace of mind? Thank you!
A bruit in the aortic or carotid artery area in a child that signifies true disease is extremely rare, although without evaluating her, I cannot say what the source of this is. The most likely etiology is exactly as you suggested--she has relative dehydration that caused the blood flow to be more turbulent, and sound louder. Innocent murmurs, or murmurs not associated with any actual structural defect, are common in children (2/3 of all kids), and are often louder with a cold or fever. It may be that it disappears upon recovery from her intercurrent illness, so a doppler study may not even be required.
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