Blood normally flows smoothly through the heart. If there is any disturbance in the flow of blood through the heart, it makes a ‘swishing’ or ‘whooshing’ noise. This unusual sound is heard when listening to a heart with a stethoscope and is called a heart murmur.
Heart murmurs are common in babies and young children. Most murmurs are harmless and will not need treatment. Doctors call these functional or innocent murmurs.
Some heart murmurs show that a child has a heart condition. If a doctor thinks your child may have a heart condition, they will refer you to a cardiologist for more tests.
The cardiologist will examine your child thoroughly and do some tests. Tests can include:
The cardiologist will also be looking for other symptoms of a heart condition. These can include:
The cardiologist will probably ask you questions about your child’s feeding and sleeping habits.
Sometimes the cardiologist may want to monitor your child or do further tests. In this case, your child may need to stay in hospital.
It is often helpful to have a partner, friend or relative with you when you see the cardiologist; especially if they’re taking notes or thinking of questions.
The cardiologist should explain exactly what is causing the murmur. If the murmur is caused by a heart condition, the cardiologist should:
You can ask the cardiologist any questions you have. Some questions you may want to ask are shown below.
Finding out that your child has a heart condition can be very upsetting and it can be hard to take everything in. If you think of more questions after the appointment, you can book another appointment or contact the cardiologist by phone or email.
Before you leave the appointment, make sure of the following.
We can give you more support and information. You can contact us through our website
www.chfed.org.uk or our freephone infoline 0808 808 5000.
We produce a range of information sheets explaining different heart conditions and giving guidance on issues that affect children with heart conditions and their families.
You may be interested in the following information sheets:
Evidence and sources of information for this CHF information sheet can be obtained at:
(1) National Institute for Health & Care Excellence. Structural heart defects. London: NICE; 2017. Available at:
(2) Great Ormond Street Hospital. Heart Murmurs (innocent). London: GOSH; 2017. Available at:
About this document:
Published: June 2013
Reviewed: June 2017
Due for review: June 2019
To inform CHF of a comment or suggestion, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 0300 561 0065.