Does your toddler have difficulty breathing? If you put a stethoscope to his chest, Can you hear another sound apart from the regular heart beat? If you can relate to these questions, you should read this post.
Your toddler may be suffering from heart murmurs. But, don’t panic just yet. Most toddlers suffer from heart murmurs and outgrow them. However, some toddlers may have congenital heart defects that cause the murmurs. As a parent, you will get a little tense. So here is some information about heart murmur in toddlers, their symptoms, causes & treatment, to ease your worries.
What Is A Heart Murmur?
A heart murmur occurs due to a disturbance in the flow of blood through the heart or the major blood vessels around it. The murmur is like a whooshing sound, which you can hear in between normal heart beats with the help of a stethoscope. During a heart murmur, you will hear an extra sound apart from the regular heart beat sound of “lub-dub” (1).
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- Grade one sounds are the softest, and you can barely hear them.
- Grade two is easier to hear but is a soft sound.
- Grade three is a loud sound but does not accompany a palpable thrill.
- Grade four is a loud sound and also includes a palpable thrill.
- Grades five and six are the loudest sounds, which you can easily hear using a stethoscope.
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Types Of Heart Murmurs In Toddlers:
Apart from intensity, there are two distinct types to classify heart murmurs, which include:
1. Innocent Heart Murmur:
The innocent heart murmur is common in newborns and toddlers. Toddler with heart murmurs that is in normal condition can easily play, jump, run and just about perform any physical activity. If your toddler suffers from a cold or fever, you will hear the heart murmur clearly. Innocent heart murmurs typically disappear when your toddler reaches adolescence.
2. Abnormal Heart Murmur:
The abnormal type of heart murmurs are serious and may occur due to congenital heart disease. In some cases, the heart valve leaks, or it may not open at all. Thus, you need to consult a pediatric cardiologist.
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Depending on what type of heart murmur your toddler may contract, the causes may vary:
Normal Heart Murmur:
- The normal or innocent murmur may occur due to fever.
- It may also occur due to strenuous exercise or physical activity.
- A lack of RBCs i.e. red blood cells in the blood.
Abnormal Heart Murmur:
- Abnormal heart murmurs can occur due to overworked or damaged heart valves.
- It may occur in toddlers born with heart valve problems. The valves may not let enough blood pass through them.
- It may occur due to a hole in the heart or a cardiac shunt (septal defects)
- Rheumatic fever
- Endocarditis, a bacterial infection that occurs in the inner lining of the valve and heart (2).
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Symptoms Of Heart Murmurs:
Typically, there are no specific symptoms of heart murmurs. However, if your toddler exhibits any of these symptoms, rush him to a doctor.
- Low oxygen saturations in the body
- Those with red flags
Sometimes, heart murmurs can also accompany some symptoms, which may indicate the presence of heart disease:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Cyanotic effect due to improper blood circulation
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Treating Heart Murmurs:
Heart murmurs are mostly harmless. However, you shouldn’t take any risks. If your toddler exhibits any signs of a heart murmur, get a thorough check-up done. If your toddler has any septal defects or valve defects, he may even require surgery.
We hope you found this post on heart murmur in toddlers useful. Did your toddler suffer from heart murmurs? How did you cope with toddler heart murmur? Tell us about your experiences below. Fellow moms would love to hear from you.