Heart Murmur in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions


A heart murmur is a blowing, whooshing, or rasping sound made by blood moving through the heart or the blood vessels near the heart. Murmurs can be heard through a stethoscope.

Children often have murmurs that are a normal part of development and do not require treatment. Heart murmurs can also occur during an illness, especially if there is a fever. These murmurs usually are not a problem and go away on their own.

However, sometimes a heart murmur is a sign of a serious problem, such as congenital heart disease or heart valve problems, that may need treatment. Your child may need more tests to check his or her heart. The treatment depends on the specific heart problem causing the murmur.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Encourage your to child to have active playtime, unless the doctor says not to.
  • If your doctor tells you to, help your child limit or avoid over-the-counter medicines that contain stimulants. These include decongestants and cold and flu medicines.
  • Keep your child away from smoke. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your child or in your house. Smoke harms a child's lungs and leads to an unhealthy heart.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has severe trouble breathing.
  • Your child coughs up pink, foamy mucus and has trouble breathing.
  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has symptoms of a stroke. These may include:
    • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your child's face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
    • Sudden vision changes.
    • Sudden trouble speaking.
    • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
    • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or increased shortness of breath.
  • Your child feels dizzy or light-headed or feels like he or she may faint.
  • Your child has increased swelling in the legs or feet.
  • Your child has a fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child has any problems.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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