What is a heart murmur?
A heart murmur is a noise that the blood makes as it flows through the heart. It's like the noise water makes when it flows through a hose. Heart murmurs are common in children and are usually harmless.
What is an "innocent" or "functional" heart murmur?
Heart murmurs don't necessarily mean that you are sick. Your doctor may call these murmurs "innocent" or "functional." An innocent murmur is just a noise caused by blood flowing through a normal heart. These noises are commonly heard in children because their hearts are very close to their chest walls.
An innocent murmur can get louder or softer depending on your child's heart rate, such as when they're excited or scared. Doctors often hear heart murmurs when they check children who have a fever. Many innocent murmurs become hard to hear as children grow older, and most usually go away on their own.
What does it mean if my child has an innocent heart murmur?
An innocent heart murmur does not pose a health threat. If your child has an innocent heart murmur, he or she can run, jump and play, with no limits on activity. Your child doesn't need to take any medicine or be careful in any special way.
Heart Murmurs in Pedatric Patients: When Do You Refer? by ME McConnell, M.D., SB Adkins III, M.D., and DW. Hannon, M.D. (American Family Physician August 01, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/990800ap/558.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff