Murmurs are sounds made by blood circulating through the heart's chambers or valves, or through blood vessels near the heart.
Heart murmurs may be caused by a number of factors or diseases, including the following:
Your child's physician will evaluate a murmur based on several factors. Murmurs are analyzed for pitch, loudness, and duration. They also are graded according to their intensity (on a scale of one to six, with one being very faint and six being very loud).
Types of murmurs include the following:
Not all heart murmurs are symptoms of heart disease. Sometimes, a murmur may be heard in a normal child who has a fever or who is anemic; these murmurs often go away when the underlying problem is treated.
Some children have what is known as an innocent murmur. These murmurs are not related to congenital heart defects, and usually resolve by the time a child reaches adulthood. If your child's physician hears an innocent murmur, he/she may want to perform additional tests to ensure a heart defect is not present. A child with an innocent murmur can live a normal life and be as active as any other healthy child.
"When we go to doctor visits, the staff always remembers Juju. They make you feel at home, talk to you about everything, and listen. Children's National is a great hospital. "
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"The one thing that helps is to talk about what you are feeling, cry if you need to, always be involved in your child's care, and ask questions if you don't understand."
Read More of Janaya's Story
Earlier this year, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a scientific statement on the diagnosis and treatment of fetal cardiac disease written by a team of cardiac and obstetrical experts with lead author, Mary T. Donofrio, MD, Director of the Fetal Heart Program and Medical Director of the Critical Care Delivery Program for the Fetal Medicine Institute at Children’s National Health System.
According to the American Heart Association, about nine of every 1,000 babies born in the United States have a congenital (present at birth) heart defect. This is a problem that occurs as the baby's heart is developing during pregnancy, before the baby is born. Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects.
Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), or heart scan with endoscopy, uses a small probe guided into the esophagus while a child is sedated to closely evaluate the heart and blood vessels within the chest.
Routine transthorasic echocardiography is the most common test used in children, fetuses, and newborns to diagnose or rule out heart disease or to follow children already diagnosed with a heart problem.