And in a simple routine consultation at the pediatrician, you hear that your child has a heart murmur !! Like any unknown subject and as it is such an important organ for survival, it is impossible not to be worried! But to inform and even reassure the dads, let’s clarify some points on the subject, after all, heart murmur in children is not always a sign of risks and that your child will have heart problems in the future.
Then comes the other doubts such as: How does the pediatrician know that he has a murmur in a simple consultation? Why haven’t you seen this before? And what did he see to say that my son has a heart murmur? And the answer is quite simple, during the heart auscultation procedure that the pediatrician performs in all consultations, a different sound is noticed in the heartbeat . This sound is the noise that the blood makes when running through the blood vessels and valves of the heart that is clearly heard by the pediatrician between the intervals of the heartbeat.
In the vast majority of cases, the heart murmur is totally harmless to the child and does not produce any symptoms other than the distinctive sound when listening to the heartbeat. This type of murmur is called a harmless or benign murmur by pediatricians or is also considered physiological. It is quite common in the first days of life to be noticed the murmur, this is because the circulatory system that previously depended entirely on the placenta undergoes changes when the baby begins to use the lungs . In this case, the murmur usually disappears after a few weeks and must be accompanied by a pediatrician. If the noises do not disappear, additional tests should be requested to assess the case.
When there is an abnormality in the heart, the murmur is accompanied by other symptoms such as: difficulty breastfeeding, wheezing and rapid breathing, a bluish lip and little weight gain. But there are also some cases where the heart murmur is only discovered when advancing in age, sometimes with the child already big. For this reason, it is very important for every child to have a monthly companion with a trusted pediatrician.
Today, with the modernity of equipment prepared to diagnose diseases and problems in the baby still in the mother’s womb, it is also possible during the performance of a morphological ultrasound to detect heart problems or any other malformation in the region. Early diagnosis is extremely important for your obstetrician with specialists to prepare in case of need for intervention after birth.
What Exams to Take to Diagnose the murmur?
As we have already mentioned, even through auscultation during the consultation it is possible that the pediatrician already knows about the murmur and in some cases it is even possible to know the severity. However, it is only through complementary exams that the pediatrician himself will request that it will be confirmed to proceed with the appropriate treatment and if necessary, referral to a cardiologist.
One of the tests requested is the echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound that gives images of the heart chambers , where it is possible to visualize the anatomy of the organ and its functioning. If a cardiac problem is observed through this test, other tests will be requested, such as a chest x-ray, which will not only observe the cardiac chambers, but will also observe their measurements and shape, visualizing how the air inflates the lungs.
The electrocardiogram is also requested and is a painless and fast procedure, where electrodes are glued to the child’s chest. These electrodes will be used to measure the electrical activities that occur in the heart, checking if there is any change in its functioning. The most common heart problems are:
Malformation in the interventricular septum – This is the most common problem among the causes of heart murmur in children. However, in 80% of cases, no intervention or treatment is necessary, as the opening closes on its own in the first years of life.
Malformation in the interatrial septum – In this case, the opening is located between the two chambers located in the upper area of the heart. To solve it, a catheterization is necessary, remembering that nowadays the catheterization procedure has become a simple procedure.
Pulmonary Stenosis – It is the narrowing of the lung valve or artery found in the lung in the upper right ventricle.
Aortic Stenosis – It is the narrowing of the aortic valve that this time overloads the left ventricle.
In some cases, the above procedures may not qualify for the treatment indicated by your child’s cardiologist. If surgical intervention is necessary, it is worth remembering that the developed techniques provide the necessary support guaranteeing a reliable treatment. The surgeries are no longer as invasive as they used to be, they even leave scars almost imperceptible. Do not despair when you hear that your child has a heart murmur , the murmur can be physiological and disappear with time. Take the exams requested for evaluation and follow the medical recommendations.
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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.