Heart Murmur

Pediatric Cardiologist & Adult Congenital Cardiologist Pennsylvania locations in Lancaster, Mifflinburg and Strasburg; also located in Topeka, Indiana
Heart Murmur

Heart Murmur services offered in Lancaster, Mifflinburg and Strasburg, PA and Topeka , IN

Parents may be surprised to learn that 75% of newborns and 66% of children have occasional heart murmurs even though their heart is healthy. But a heart murmur should always be evaluated by Devyani Chowdhury, MD, MHA, and the team at Cardiology Care for Children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because it can be the first symptom of a serious heart condition, usually a congenital heart defect. If you need to schedule a heart murmur evaluation, call the office or connect online to request an appointment today.

Heart Murmur Q & A

What is a heart murmur?

Heart murmurs refer to unusual sounds — whooshing, swishing, or an extra sound between heart beats — that occur as blood flows through your heart. Your provider hears these sounds when listening through a stethoscope (a device they place against your skin that amplifies sound).

In most cases, a heart murmur is discovered during a routine physical. Discovering a heart murmur doesn’t immediately mean you or your child have a heart problem. But your physician will most likely refer you to a specialist like Cardiology Care for Children to have it evaluated.

What causes a heart murmur?

When children (or adults) with a healthy heart have murmurs, the sounds are called innocent or functional murmurs. Innocent murmurs may develop due to strenuous exercise, a fever, anemia, stress, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), or even a rapid growth phase.

Serious heart murmurs (pathologic murmurs) reflect a congenital heart defect — a problem with the heart’s structure that is present at birth. A murmur may indicate a hole in the heart, such as an atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect, or a congenital cardiac shunt (a problem with the blood flow). 

Do other symptoms accompany a heart murmur?

Heart murmurs may occur together with:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blue-tinted nails
  • Bluish tint around lips
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue and the inability to exercise
  • Lack of growth (in infants and young children)
  • Cough that doesn’t improve
  • Heavy sweating (when not active)
  • Swelling or weight gain

These additional symptoms indicate a potential heart condition.

How are heart murmurs diagnosed?

Your provider easily diagnoses a heart murmur by listening through a stethoscope. But after hearing the murmur sounds, Cardiology Care for Children runs a range of tests to diagnose the underlying heart problem. Your child may need:

  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray or CT scan
  • Cardiac catheterization

A cardiac catheterization measures the pressure in each heart chamber. That minimally invasive procedure is typically performed only if your child needs surgery.

How is a heart murmur treated?

Heart murmur treatment targets the underlying condition. Some congenital heart defects heal over time, others need medication, and some need surgery to repair the problem.

The caring team at Cardiology Care for Children has extensive experience providing individualized treatment that restores a healthy heart. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature today.