Heart Murmur

What is a heart murmur?

A heart murmur is a sound made by blood moving through the heart's chambers or valves. Murmurs range from quite faint to very loud.

There are two main types of heart murmurs: innocent (harmless) and abnormal. Most cases of heart murmurs in children are innocent heart murmurs that are not caused by a heart problem.

Most abnormal murmurs in children are due to a congenital heart defect or a vascular anomaly.

What causes a heart murmur?

Heart murmurs may be caused by a number of conditions related to turbulent flow or acceleration of blood in the heart, including:

How is a heart murmur diagnosed?

A physician will evaluate your child’s murmur based on pitch, character, location, loudness and duration. Your pediatrician will decide if your child needs to be seen by a cardiologist. The most important thing early on is to diagnose the cause of the murmur.

Murmurs related to a congenital heart defect or other problem involving the heart will be heard the loudest in the area of the chest where the problem occurs.

What are the treatment options for a heart murmur?

Most heart murmurs in children are benign and don’t need treatment or follow up. If your child has an abnormal heart murmur that’s caused by another heart condition, he or she may need treatment for that condition.

How we care for heart murmurs

If your child has a heart murmur caused by a heart condition, the Boston Children’s Hospital Heart Center has one of the world’s largest teams of highly trained pediatric cardiologists and pediatric cardiac surgeons, including special expertise across dozens of programs and services.

Our top-ranked team treats a full spectrum of cardiac disorders, including the rarest and most complex congenital heart defects.