Yesterday, I brought DA to the pediatrician for his regular visit. The doctor did the usual checkup.
(Song from Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins)
Time for a Checkup, time for a checkup!
I’m gonna check your ears, check your eyes, find out how much you’ve grown…
Time for a checkup!
Then I listen to your heart beat…
And listen, and listen, and listen, and listen….
The doctor seemed to be taking a long time listening with her stethoscope. She moved it up on the chest, listened, then down, then listened, to the left, to the right. Uh-oh, is something wrong?
She looked up at me and said that she heard a murmur and that I should have it checked with a specialist, just to be sure.
Oh my! That sounded serious…
She referred me to Dr. Charles Cuaso, a pediatric cardiologist a few floors down. It’s a good thing that it was a Thursday and the doctor had a schedule that day. We had to wait a couple of hours though before his clinic started.
When the doctor finally arrived, he sat DA up on the exam table and started listening to his heartbeat with a stethoscope. Oh, but he noticed the stamps on DA’s hands first and commended him for doing good (assuming that the stamps were indeed because he was good haha!) He listened for a long time. I had to hold my breath that long as well.
When he finally finished, he confirmed that there is a murmur. Uh-oh! But it sounded like an innocent one, he continued. “Innocent” sounds good… He further added that there is nothing to worry about and that it’s not something that would require treatment.
I asked him if it would eventually progress to something not innocent and he said that it won’t.
While I was already satisfied with what the doctor said, the topic still warranted a search online. Here are a few facts about it:
What is Heart Murmur?
It’s basically abnormal or unusual sounds heard during a heartbeat. While a normal heartbeat has a lub-dub-lub-dub consistent rhythm, a heart murmur may sound different. It is generated when blood flow within the heart is not smooth and turbulence occurs. As with DA’s case, it can be heard using only a regular stethoscope.
What it Sounds Like
I was curious about how it sounded like so I searched for audio clips. I found some from the website of University of Washington Department of Medicine. Their site has a demonstration of different heart sounds and murmurs. For quick reference, here are what normal heartbeat and innocent murmur sound like.
There are so many different kinds, which makes me think of how hard it is to study cardiology!
Types of Heart Murmurs
- Innocent Also known as functional heart murmurs, these are not caused by heart problems. They occur when blood rushes through the heart quickly during normal function. These murmurs are common in healthy children. The doctor added that it also occurs during situations where the heart beats faster like during a fever. They tend to disappear when a child reaches adulthood, although some adults still have them.
- Congenital Abnomality. These can be heard in the newborn baby and may be caused by abnormalities in the valves, arteries, or veins, or all. While some may resolve on its own, some may require surgery.
- Acquired Abnormality. These are caused by abnormalities in the valve acquired as a result of infections, diseases or aging.
I’ll stop now as I am not a doctor. I just wanted to give a little overview, in case you’re curious or worried, or both. 🙂
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartmurmur/
University of Washington Department of Medicine http://depts.washington.edu/physdx/heart/demo.html