Let’s discuss heart murmur in newborns in detail.
What Is A Heart Murmur?
The heart is a muscular organ that makes a lub-dub sound while pumping blood. An abnormal sound during the heartbeat is called a heart murmur. You can only feel a heart murmur in newborns and young children with a stethoscope.
Heart murmurs are common in children and babies. It is the result of blood flowing through the chambers. They don’t necessarily indicate a problem with your child’s heart.
Even if it is due to some hidden problem, there is a treatment available. A murmur is very rarely fatal.
There are different kinds of heart murmurs. Some of them are worrisome and some aren’t. We will clear the smoke about the heart murmurs in babies and provide some advice for the treatments.
Types of Heart Murmurs
Heart murmurs fall into three main categories. These categories depend on the duration of the murmur.
Systolic: Murmurs are created when the heart contracts
Diastolic: Murmurs are created when the heart relaxes
Continuous: Some murmurs last through the entire heartbeat. These are continuous murmurs.
What Are The Causes Of Heart Murmurs?
Babies have faster heart rates. Their chests are slim as compared to adults. Being closer to the stethoscope the murmurs are heard. As the child grows up they fade completely. Sometimes, they go on in adulthood as well.
As soon as there is a suspicion about the murmur, consult your child’s doctor.
Kinds Of Heart Murmur In Newborns: Are All Murmurs Equally Dangerous?
Sometimes murmurs are very faint to indicate anything, while in other cases, they are loud. The rapidity of the murmur varies according to the physical activities of the child.
For instance, the murmurs are quiet when the child is sleeping or relaxed. In contrast, they are vigorous in excitement, fever, or anger.
There are two types of heart murmurs. Innocent and Pathologic murmurs. Doctors listen to the murmurs to check their duration and loudness.
The nature of the murmur doesn’t always highlight the problem. In case of loud and long murmurs, they’ll refer you to a pediatric cardiologist.
An innocent murmur in babies is common and they seldom last till adulthood.
These are nothing more than the sound of blood rushing through the veins. They don’t imply a heart problem as the normal flow of the blood causes the murmuring sound.
If your doctor refers you to a pediatric cardiologist, it doesn’t mean that your child has a heart problem. It is merely a practice to achieve certainty.
Children with innocent murmurs do not need any medications or activity restrictions. These murmurs disappear when the child grows up. Their hearts grow big and lie deep in the body vanishing the murmurs completely.
Another type of heart murmur in infants is the pathologic murmur. These murmurs are the result of the abnormal flow of blood. They may be a result of a hole or leakage in valves or arteries.
These murmurs are very uncommon and occur in less than 1 percent of babies. Rarely, these murmurs may indicate a heart problem. Consulting a pediatric cardiologist is the only way to be sure.
The sound of the pathologic murmur is different from innocent murmurs. They are much louder and have an extra clicking sound.
Common Symptoms of Heart Murmur in Babies.
Children with innocent murmurs don’t have any visible signs or symptoms. They come to light when the doctor hears the heartbeat with a stethoscope.
On the other hand, a child having a pathologic murmur may exhibit the following symptoms.
- Trouble in feeding, eating
- Abnormal weight gain
- Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
- Chest pains
- Sweat while eating
Pathologic murmurs may imply bigger problems like Mitral Valve Prolapse, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Down Syndrome, And Patent Ductus Arteriosus. It is wise to carry out further evaluation when a pathologic murmur is diagnosed.
Causes of Pathologic Heart Murmurs
The pathologic murmurs are more serious than innocent murmurs. Therefore we will talk about their causes.
- Irregular connections between the major blood vessels
- Leakage or a hole in the heart valve.
- Abnormal connections between the left and right heart chambers
How to Diagnose Heart Murmur in Newborns?
There are several methods to diagnose murmur in newborns. The process of diagnosis includes the following.
- Echocardiography: It is the most effective test to detect heart murmurs. It examines the structure and functioning of the heart by using sound waves.
- Chest X-ray: It uses the X-rays to create an image of the heart and lungs
- Electrocardiogram: A test that detects the electrical activity of the child’s heart.
Are Pathologic Murmurs Fatal? What Kinds Of Treatment are There For Them?
If the heart murmur in newborns is innocent. There is no need for treatment. However, if the murmurs are pathologic ones then, treatment is mandatory.
The healthcare provider or the pediatric cardiologist will talk you through the entire treatment process. Treatments differ from situation to situation hence, before proceeding any further, the expert opinion is a must.
Things to Keep In Mind When Visiting the Child Healthcare Provider
Visiting the healthcare provider without any prior preparation is vain. You should note down your questions and the unusual behavior of the child.
Writing the question helps both the parent and the doctor pinpoint the main problem. Get all the answers from the doctor about the doubts or questions you have.
Carry a notepad to note down the tips, advice, or medication names the doctor prescribes. Other than that, try to provide vivid details to the doctors so that immediate treatment may begin.
Now we will summarize all the main points about the heart murmur in newborns. Firstly, there are three types of heart murmurs: systolic, diastolic, and continuous.
Next, innocent murmurs are not dangerous and don’t have any symptoms. However, pathologic murmurs exhibit some serious symptoms. They need a thorough check-up. Different diagnosis methods are available. Proceed as the doctor prescribes.
Lastly, visiting a doctor without any questions or observations will not help much. Always carry a notepad to note down the important things.
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