Heart Murmurs, When to be Concerned: June 28, 2019

Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Michael LaCorte says heart murmurs in children can be detected at any age. “I know the second I listen to a child whether or not this is going to be something normal or not. It’s generally picked up when a pediatrician listens to a child during the physical examination.”

The good news is innocent heart murmurs are very common. They have no symptoms and typically don’t require treatment. “In fact, it generally does, by the time they are teenagers, it disappears because they have muscle development,” said Dr. LaCorte.

As children grow, there are many different types of heart murmurs that can develop. “The most important thing is the type of murmur, whether or not it’s harsh, whether it’s blowing. Murmurs that are often abnormal are heard in the back,” he said.

If doctors hear a murmur, they may recommend an EKG screening, which measures electric activity from 12 different areas of the heart. “We listen first, an EKG, all of that is typical, we reassure the family that this murmur can be heard on and off throughout childhood, don’t’ worry about it, it’s completely normal,” said Dr. LaCorte.

If children need additional testing after an EKG, an echocardiogram can be used to diagnose the problem. “So, if I listen to a child and I think that murmur is harsh and I think it’s very well localized where I can hear a hole in the heart, then I would go in and do an echocardiogram, Dr. LaCorte said.

Testing that can determine the type of murmur and treatment the child needs.