How To Detect A Pediatric Heart Murmur
Heart murmurs in children are no uncommon, but learning how to detect a pediatric heart murmur can be important. Detecting a pediatric heart murmur is usually the job of your doctor, and is done by listening to the heartbeat with a stethoscope. A great advantage of learning to detect pediatric heart murmurs yourself is that you save your child the unsettling experience of a visit to the doctor's office.
To detect a pediatric heart murmur, you will need:
- stethoscope (you can purchase these at a drug store)
- Find a quiet area to listen to your child's heart. Make sure there are no background noises to interfere with the faint sound of the heartbeat.
- Put the ear pieces in your ears and warm up the stethoscope with your breath. If it's too cold, your child will be very uncomfortable.
- A normal heartbeat will sound like a lub-dub, lub-dub sound, and should keep a steady rhythm. These two sounds "lub" and "dub" will not be preceded or followed by any other sounds.
- A heart murmur will sound like swishing or whistling besides the lub-dub rhythm of a normal heartbeat. If you notice these additional sounds, you need to see your Pediatrician.
- The doctor will be able to tell by how loud the murmur is whether it is serious. Some murmurs are worse when they are barely heard because they can be caused by a hole in the heart. The softer the sound, the larger the hole may be. Detecting a pediatric heart murmur in your child could make a great difference in their overall health.
Tips/Warnings: Never try to diagnose your child. If you think you are detecting a pediatric heart murmur, see your doctor immediately. If your child shows signs of rapid breathing, trouble eating, or blue lips, see your pediatrician immediately.