Heart Murmurs: What Are They And What To Do About Them

Heart monitor measuring vital signs.

Heart Murmurs

The heart is a muscle about the size of your fist. It works like a pump and beats about 100,000 times a day. It’s of course vital to every aspect of life. So when something doesn’t sound right with it, it’s cause for alarm, right?

A heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during your heartbeat. Murmurs range from very faint to very loud and sometimes sound like a whooshing or swishing noise. Normal heartbeat sounds–“lub-DUPP” or “lub-DUB”–are the sounds of valves closing as blood moves through the heart.

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A heart murmur is not a disease; it is a sound that the doctor hears with the stethoscope. It may be normal for your child, or it could be a sign that something may be wrong. Most heart murmurs are harmless. Some are a sign of a
heart problem, especially if other signs or symptoms of a heart problem are present.

Types of Murmurs

Innocent (harmless) murmurs. A person with an innocent murmur has a normal heart and usually has no other symptoms or signs of a heart problem. Innocent murmurs are common in healthy children.

Abnormal murmurs. A person with an abnormal murmur usually has other signs or symptoms of a heart problem. Most abnormal murmurs in children are due to congenital heart disease–heart defects present at birth. In adults, abnormal murmurs are most often due to heart valve problems caused by infection, disease,
or aging.

Other Names for Heart Murmurs

Innocent heart murmurs:

    • Normal heart murmurs
    • Benign heart murmurs