By the dr. Carina Maciá (*)
It is common that in some consultation with the pediatrician of the head, or a doctor of guard, is recognized in the boy a heart murmur. Situation that can generate anguish in parents and issues such as: is it something serious, as it was not detected before?
What it is? Through a stethoscope, the doctor hears the sounds of the heart, to evaluate its state. When there is a heart murmur, an extra sound is produced; the majority of blows should not be of concern and have no impact on the child's health.
Sometimes they are just the result of a normal blood flow that circulates through a healthy heart with more speed (functional or innocent breath). These are frequent, 6 out of 10 children may experience an innocent murmur at some stage of their growth. In some cases, it is caused by fever, dehydration or anemia that make the heart beat faster and generate more noise. They usually disappear on their own when the child grows and poses no health risk.
In other cases, a murmur may indicate a change in heart structure that may be birth or acquired (organic murmurs). This is caused by the passage of blood through small communications that persist after birth or by narrower valves. Organic puffs are uncommon.
What should be done when the pediatrician detects a breath? Most murmurs during childhood are innocent. In some cases, the pediatrician may consider it necessary to schedule an appointment with the cardiologist to finish studying it.
If the child has a functional blow, does that limit him in his daily activity? Innocent murmurs are observed in healthy hearts, so it is possible to continue with the daily routine. Organic blows will depend on each case, but most do not limit the child's recreational activity.
Is the innocent murmur sometimes not heard? It is quite common for a breath to be discovered during a check-up, even when it has not been heard before. Functional murmurs usually appear and disappear, depending on heart rate, position during examination, and presence of fever. Some new murmurs may indicate a short-term heart condition.
Remember that a heart murmur is the result of an examination, not a disease. Your pediatrician and child's cardiologist can determine if the murmur is functional (meaning the child is healthy) or if there is a specific heart problem. If there is a problem, the cardiologist will ask for appropriate treatment.
(*) Pediatrician of the Swiss Medical Center (MN 145.913).