Children's Hospital Colorado

Heart Murmur

What is a heart murmur in children?

A heart murmur is a noise that can be heard while listening to the heart using a stethoscope. Sometimes the murmur is simply the sound of normal blood flow moving through a normal heart (known as an innocent murmur). Other times, a murmur may be a sign of a heart problem (called an organic murmur).

The difference between innocent and organic heart murmurs in children

Heart murmurs are very common, occurring in up to 70% of kids by the time they are school age. Most murmurs are not a cause for concern and do not affect a child's health. These are called "innocent murmurs," which are produced by a normal, healthy heart. An innocent murmur can come and go throughout childhood, and usually goes away as the child gets older. Many kids will have a heart murmur at some point during their lives.

Other heart murmurs can indicate a problem with the heart. This type of murmur is caused by problems inside the heart, such as an abnormal valve or a hole in an inner wall separating the left from the right side of the heart. These murmurs are much rarer and occur in less than 1% of the population.

If your child's doctor hears a heart murmur and suspects your child may have a heart condition, he or she will order further tests. The treatment plan your cardiologist recommends will depend on the underlying heart condition.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Eduardo Da Cruz, MD

Eduardo Da Cruz, MD

Cardiology - Pediatric, Critical Care - Pediatric

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Joseph Kay, MD

Joseph Kay, MD

Cardiology, Cardiology - Pediatric

Robert Bishop, MD

Robert Bishop, MD

Cardiology - Pediatric, Critical Care - Pediatric, Pediatrics

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Brian Fonseca, MD

Brian Fonseca, MD

Cardiology - Pediatric