Peds Happy Hearts, PLLC

My Child has a Heart Murmur; Should I be Worried?

Heart murmur

What is a Heart Murmur?

A heart murmur indicates the health of your heart. We hear it as a sound, similar to the sounds of a river or water flowing in our home’s pipes. The best time to listen to these sounds is when it’s quiet, like in the middle of the night. However, hearing a murmur when kids run around can be challenging unless the heart sounds are loud. You can appreciate the murmur when kids are quiet or lying still. Depending on the sound, it may be normal or abnormal. The murmur’s location can give a cardiologist clues about what may be causing the murmur. Therefore, it’s essential to pay attention to any unusual sounds and seek medical attention if you suspect any issues with your child’s heart.

When Should I Worry?

If your child is less than one year old and/or has difficulty growing, sweating with feeds, or experiencing increased work of breathing, you should immediately bring the heart murmur to the attention of a physician. The physician should refer your child to a pediatric cardiologist if necessary.

A heart murmur can be normal if it has a low pitch and the child thrives. However, the pediatric cardiologist should listen to the heart murmur to ensure no concerns such as a hole in the heart, obstruction to blood flow, narrow valve, or any leakage.

What Tests are Ordered?

To examine the rhythm and any signs of potential structural issues, doctors may need to perform an electrocardiogram (EKG) or an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound). If they detect an abnormality on the EKG, the next step is to perform a heart ultrasound. This test evaluates all the heart valves, any holes in the heart, and how the blood flows from the heart to the body in real-time. Doctors may also order lab tests such as a complete blood count (CBC) to rule out anemia.


If the exam, EKG, and echocardiogram show normal results, no further testing may be necessary. However, if the EKG shows abnormalities, the doctor will perform an echocardiogram. Depending on the findings of the echocardiogram, treatment may be required. For instance, surgery may be necessary if there is a large hole. On the other hand, a small hole may close spontaneously. If there are valve abnormalities, the next step may involve close monitoring, medication, or surgery, depending on the severity.

If your child exhibits symptoms or a new murmur, it is essential to seek medical attention and referral to a pediatric cardiologist if necessary.

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