Patient Information

Innocent Murmurs (English Española Portuguese 中文 日語)

People often worry when they hear that their child has a heart murmur.  Happily, most heart murmurs in children are perfectly normal.  We call such murmurs “innocent murmurs” or “functional murmurs”, meaning that they are normal sounds coming from the heart that do not suggest. Examples include the Still's murmurPPS murmur and venous hum.

What causes them?
A heart murmur is any sound that the heart makes.  Innocent murmurs are caused by the normal flow of blood through the heart, valves and blood vessels.    

Who has them?
Innocent murmurs may occur in as many as 40% of all children.  Most of them tend to come and go over time, and most go away by young adulthood. 

What does it mean?
It is very important to understand that an innocent murmur is perfectly normal.  It does not suggest any type of heart disorder.  Children with innocent murmurs can play sports just like any other normal child, and do not require special medical treatment when they go to the dentist or have other medical procedures.  In fact, it is perfectly fine not to mention this murmur when one is filling out forms for insurance companies, school sports clearance, and dental visits.  Finally, it is not generally necessary for a child with an innocent murmur to have additional visits with a cardiologist unless they are under a year of age, in which case one additional visit is sometimes recommended just because a lot of changes take place in a child’s heart over the first year of life. 

Questions?
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions about your child’s heart.

Web Links 
Here are some Internet links that might be helpful.  They look pretty good, but I cannot vouch for their accuracy or quality.  As always with the Internet, browser beware!

American Heart Association: Innocent Murmurs
http://www.americanheart.org/Heart_and_Stroke_A_Z_Guide/imurm.html

American Academy of Family Physicians - Heart Murmurs in Children--What Parents Should Know  
http://www.aafp.org/afp/990800ap/990800f.html

iVillage: Are Infant Heart Murmurs Common?  
http://www.homearts.com/depts/health/38docs31.htm

The Nemours Foundation:  Heart Murmurs  
http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/heart/murmurs.html