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Heart murmur

  My 5 yr old son was at his well child check recently and the Dr. told me
  he heard a heart murmur. I know nothing about these. Do I need to worry?
  If you have any info I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you
Dear Deanna,
Usually two sounds are heard when the heart beats, these coinciding with opening and closing of the valves of the heart. Sometimes, extra sounds are heard from the flow of blood through the heart chambers and valves. These sounds may or may not indicate that something is wrong. For example, often murmurs can be heard in young children when they have fevers. These go away as the temperature drops and the heart rate returns to normal. Some children with heart defects such as an Atrial Septal Defect have murmurs because the blood takes an unusual route through the heart.. A Functional Murmur is an innocent murmur, where an organic murmur is often pathological, and indicates the blood is having difficulty getting through the heart or that the heart muscle itself is beating in an unusual way. Your pediatrician should be able to identify a functional murmur, where a pathological murmur would require a cardiac specialist to determine it's cause and severity.  Unless your child has other symptoms,  his murmur is most likely an innocent one, caused only by the normal flow of blood accross the valves. I encourage you to talk with your doctor to determine any need for referral to a pediatric cardiologist.
*KEYWORD:  Heart, murmurs, heart defects

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