Heart Murmurr Essay

887 words - 4 pages

Heart Murmur, Atherosclerosis, & Heart Failure A heart murmur is a sound caused by blood flowing through a child's heart or through blood vessels entering or leaving the heart. More that 50 percent of all people will be diagnosed with a heart murmur sometime in their lives. When a child's doctor or nurse practitioner detects a heart murmur, this causes many parents quite a bit of anxiety, especially if they have relatives with heart disease. Luckily, in most children a heart murmur does not mean that there is something wrong with the heart. In fact, only one in 100 children who have a heart murmur will actually have heart disease. Murmurs that are not associated with heart disease are referred to as innocent murmurs. Most children diagnosed with a heart murmur have innocent murmurs. There are several different types of innocent murmurs. In the newborn and infancy period, a common innocent murmur heard is called pulmonary flow murmur. This is caused by the flow of blood through the pulmonary artery, which takes blood to the lungs. The arteries are still slightly narrow, and, therefore, blood flow through them will cause a murmur. As the baby grows, the murmur will become softer and many times disappear altogether. Another common innocent murmur heard in children ages 3 to 8 years is a vibratory musical murmur called a Still's murmur. No one knows the cause of the murmur other than blood flowing through a healthy vigorous heart. The murmur is usually detected at a well-child visit or if the child comes in with fever or some other form of illness. In times of fever or illness, the murmur will be louder because the heart is pumping harder, and blood is flowing through the heart faster. The murmur tends to become softer as the child grows, and his or her chest becomes thicker with muscles. Again the murmur is a normal, innocent murmur of childhood. A third common innocent murmur that occurs during the teen-age years is a pulmonary flow murmur. This murmur is due to blood flow in a normal heart and pulmonary artery. The murmur is louder with fever or illness; it is not due to a heart problem. When a child's physician or nurse practitioner hears a murmur, he or she will check on how the child is growing, playing, feeding or breathing. Your child's physician or nurse practitioner may order special tests such as an EKG echocardiogram to help them decide if the murmur is innocent. They may ask that your child see a pediatric cardiologist - one who specializes in helping children that may have a heart problem. The pediatric cardiologist can also help decide if the murmur is innocent. As long as everything is normal with the child,...

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