Heart Murmur in Five Year Old

Updated on September 27, 2011
A.M. asks from Frederick, MD
13 answers

Hello moms!

I took my daughter to the pediatrician's office because she'd been complaining of ear pain. As it turns out, the problem was likely related to her allergies and not an infection.

The doctor we saw listened to her chest and said that she had a "significant" heart murmur and asked if I'd ever had it checked out! My child has been going to that practice ever since she was an infant and this is the first I've ever heard mention of any heart issues. In fact, she had a physical six months ago and the doctor didn't say anything about her heart at all.

Could she have developed a murmur in the space of six months or is this something that can become more pronounced as a child grows? (She did hit a growth spurt over the summer.)

I plan to follow up with a cardiologist as suggested but I wondered if anyone out there has gotten a similar diagnosis.

Thanks for taking the time to read my question!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your encouragement, stories and suggestions, everyone.

I've asked the pediatrician's office to refer us to a cardiologist that deals specifically with children. I'm waiting for the referral letter to come through so I can get DD checked out.

I think that if this was an emergency type of situation, the doctor would have sent us off to the hospital right away. (I would hope, anyway.) I've calmed down considerably since I read everyone's posts.

Once my daughter has her appointment, I'll post an update.

Thanks again from talking me down from the "Freak Out Ledge". : )

More Answers


answers from Dallas on

My son was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat when he was 6. This was discovered during surgery while he was having eartubes put in and adenoids removed. The surgeon came out to talk to me, and was very concerned. She told me that I needed to get him to his pediatrian immediately and have him referred to a pediatric cardiologist. I was terrified. No one had ever mentioned any problem with his heart before.

I followed all instructions. We went to the cardiologist the next week and had several tests done. It took about a week to get results, and everything was fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my son's heart. I asked the cardiologist why the surgeon was so concerned, and he said it happens pretty often. The surgeon isn't a heart doctor. Something didn't sound right, and the surgeon needed to err on the side of caution. I'm glad to know that everything is fine, but it sure was a stressful couple of weeks. I hope everything is fine with your daughter, too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter had open heart surgery at 4 days old to correct a major heart defect. They didn't fix a small VSD she had while she was in there. They could hear it for a while afterwards, but then it repaired itself (as they thought it would). Then for years her heart sounded great. No nothing weird.

But at the beginning of 2010, they could hear a murmur again. I'm pretty sure it was even in a different spot. She was 7 years old. Along with her heart defect, she was born with a disease that causes her bone marrow to fail. At the time, she was in severe bone marrow failure and was on blood transfusions because her body wasn't making enough blood. Having such low blood counts is what caused her to have what sounded like a murmur. Several months later, medication kicked in enough that she no longer needed blood transfusions, her blood counts were normal, and her heart murmur was gone. She still has an enlarged left ventricle from lower blood levels, but they can't hear the murmur.

I'm not suggesting your daughter has severe anemia...just suggesting that somehow sometimes things don't show up for some reason. Then they do later on. I don't understand all the different causes of murmurs, but I wonder if for some reason something new happened and caused it to be heard?

I hope that things look good and there are no additional worries!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It is 'significant' and they didn't catch it earlier? Perhaps the murmur was made more clear due to her allergies making her breathing slightly skewed, or something has changed since then. My son has a faint heart murmur and the cardiologist balked that my ob didn't catch it in utero. Though they had to do extensive tests to rally even hear it b/c it was so faint. He had a hole in his heart as a newborn, but it has since closed up. My husband's heart murmur wasn't discovered until he was in his teens.

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answers from Atlanta on

I have a brother who at age 16 a doctor discovered a murmur on his routine sports physical. His happened at birth and he had to have major surgery to correct - a valve did not close at birth. The surgery is routine on babies...he was the largest/oldest patient that was at the hospital. He's got a big scar that he spins a tale to the ladies now.That said...she may have had it since birth and the fact that it was caught early is great. Best of luck to you both!



answers from Washington DC on

I found out I had one at age 12. My mom did take me to a cardiologist so it could be checked out. Mine turned out to be a very common heart mrumur, that will usually correct itself, and that is exactly what happened. Most of them are harmless, but it doesen't hurt to get it checked so you know the cause. I wouldn't worry about it. A lot of people have them.



answers from Charlotte on

Ohh my gosh- how ironic! I posted something VERY similar to this last week- I took my 4 yr old in last wed for a well visit and same as you have never heard anything about this issue since birth- but pediatrician says it is new - said it could be a flow murmur or pathologic murmur, also said it was more prevalent lying down than standing- and referred me to a pediatric cardiologist also-( Appt for that is this wed, so I don't have an update on what is actually happening yet)- but I got some great responses that helped to ease my mind a little- From what I have read also, murmurs can develop through childhood, and can go away on their own- If you are like me, I was terribly upset at the thought of something being wrong with my son's heart, but have gotten a grip since last week and realized I don't need to worry about something that hasn't happened yet, so I'm waiting on Wednesday with a hopeful heart- I hope you'll be able to get some peace about it also- Many prayers!


answers from Pittsburgh on

It can happen. I have an innocent (no underlying structural abnormality) murmur that was first ausculted when I was about 12. I had seen the same pediatrician since I was an infant and don't see any reason he would have missed it repeatedly.



answers from Philadelphia on

I've had a heart murmur since I was a baby. I never knew it until I was getting an exam a few years ago and a doctor caught it and questioned it and I asked my mom and she told me. I had to wear this thing strapped to me (I can't remember what it's called) for 24 hours, I believe, so they could monitor my heart and get a better look at the murmur and see if it was any concern (which it wasn't) so I assume that's what they will do with your daughter. I just wanted you to know that it's a common type thing and it can be a big deal or no big deal. Good luck to your DD.


answers from Chicago on

Hopefully its nothing. My daughter had a heart murmur detected a year ago - she is 14. She had all the testing done and they said it is completely normal. She could grow out of it or she may have it forever, but it is not harmful to her at all.



answers from Washington DC on

I am so sorry to hear that you're going through this. My daughter's heart murmur was detected at her two week old well check up. I was so caught off guard, I can't imagine how you're feeling.

The cardiologist will be able to answer if this is something she was born with (congenital) or something that has happened?

I know that our pediatrician was always sure to bring the other doctors in the practice (and especially those in medical school there in training) to listen to my daughter's murmur. Especially with background noise or people talking, babies crying, it is harder to hear.

Hang in there. Let us know what the cardiologist says.



answers from Portland on

I have a heart murmur that no one mentioned when I was a child. I was told in my 20's for the first time. Since then, sometimes they can hear it and sometimes they can't. I went thru tests and learned that my murmur is benign, meaning it causes me no harm.



answers from New York on

My youngest had the same thing and they will most likely send your daughter for an echo cardiogram. Your ped will most likely refer you to the hospital to have this done, and there they will have a cardiologist meet w/you so there really may not be any need to schedule an appt w/one just yet. I would however, just confirm that w/ur ped though. This ruled out any further testing being required w/my daughter. My youngest never had one and at about your daughter's age developed one, whereas my oldest one had a murmur right from the begininng which she outgrew. Good luck!



answers from Charlotte on

Yes, it's possible, especially after a growth spurt.

That being said, it could just be a functional murmur. My son has one, and he has no restrictions.

Get to a pediatric cardiologist and have an echo done as well as an ECG. My son had a Holter test done, but that might be hard for a 5 year old.

Make the ECG an "easy" thing for her. Read her a book while she's laying there, because she needs to be quiet and still. When she has the echo done, act like it's really cool. See if the technician will show her the screen so she can see what her heart looks like. Before you go to the appointment, get a children's book that shows the heart so you can talk about it. Act like it's just like all her other appointments, but now she's old enough for the doctor to take a picture of her heart. This way she'll take it all in stride. Tell her it's easy - not even a shot involved.

Don't worry now. It's too soon for worry. Many people have heart murmurs that are not problems. Your ped cardiologist will determine if her heart murmer is one of those.

All my best,

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