There are a number of heart murmurs which are causes of concern in children. However, an Innocent Heart Murmur is mostly not something to worry about. As the name spells it, these are pretty “innocent” that tend to occur in children and infants. Let’s have a look into what is it and why it occurs. Alongside this, we will dive into the characteristics of innocent murmurs in a child and quote a simple mnemonic to understand better.
What is an Innocent Heart Murmur?
An innocent Heart Murmur, also known as “Benign” or “Physiological” murmur, is a soft and sweet-sounding murmur that is usually present for a short duration. These occur in children and infants, mostly 3-8 years of old. As such, there is no structural heart disease identified and no obvious physiological explanation for the murmur.
A doctor may hear it while auscultating the heart of a child with a stethoscope. They are usually not a cause for concern. Nevertheless, a doctor or GP would advise ECG to rule out any worrying causes. No medication or treatment is required for them as these are non-pathological in nature.
These Innocent Heart Murmurs are caused due to turbulent blood flow in the heart. This occurs at the outflow tract of the heart and produces a soft (not harsh) sound that stays for a while only. These murmurs disappear with age as the child grows. Some can still have them persisting throughout life while others can present after exercise or any activity that leads to an increase in heart rate.
There is a total of 8 characteristics of Innocent Heart Murmur in children. There is a simple mnemonic to learn the features:
- Short duration
- Sweet (not harsh-sounding)
- Single (no associated clicks or gallops)
- Sensitive (changes with position or respiration)
- Supine (murmur is heard loudest in the supine position- lying face upwards)
- Sternal edge- Left
As such, Innocent Heart Murmur does not require any kind of treatment or medication. However, one should ideally see a doctor to have an EKG done. This helps in establishing that there is no pathological cause for the same.