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What are heart murmurs?


Heart murmurs are sounds that are additional to the normal heart sounds created by closure of two sets of heart valves, the inlet valves and outlet valves. They are the commonest reason for referring a child for consultation to Dr Khambadkone. The heart murmur by itself is not a disease and does not cause pain, distress or harm to the child. It however can be an indicator that something is wrong with the structure or function of the heart.



What are the causes of heart murmurs?

Normally, blood flows through a complex but beautifully designed organ, the heart, very smoothly without much disturbance or turbulence to the flow. When such flow is disturbed due to congenital heart disease such as a hole between the chambers or narrowing of heart valves or arteries, the turbulence generated causes additional sounds of various intensity called heart murmurs. These are heard or sometimes felt, over the chest and provide a diagnosis of the underlying heart abnormality. To confirm the diagnosis, Dr Khambadkone will perform an echocardiogram.

Are all heart murmurs abnormal?

In some instances, heart murmurs are not caused by any abnormality in the heart and called “innocent”. This is because in babies and young children with thin chest walls, small turbulence in flow is heard easily. Dr Khambadkone can easily diagnose an innocent heart murmur, by confirming that the structure and function of the heart is normal. Parents and children will be reassured that the murmur is innocent and most likely to disappear as they grow older. It is not mandatory for the patients to need follow-up.

Does a heart murmur disappear after treatment of congenital heart disease?

A heart murmur may not disappear after surgery or catheterization (keyhole procedure) in some heart conditions. The persistence of the heart murmur should not be a cause for concern and Dr Khambadkone would be able to reassure you by a comprehensive assessment of your child.

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