How common are innocent murmurs?
Innocent murmurs are very common! Some pediatric cardiologists estimate a heart murmur can be heard in 90 percent of children with anatomically normal hearts between the ages of 4-7 years.
What if my child has a murmur that is not innocent?
Even if your child has been diagnosed with a heart murmur that is due to a structural problem of the heart, this does not necessarily mean that your child will require heart surgery.
Some murmurs are due to small holes between the two lower chambers of the heart. These holes do not get bigger and often close by themselves.
Other murmurs are due to narrowing or leaking of one of the valves of the heart, however this may be mild.
For many of these minor problems, the only precaution that needs to be observed is to take a dose of antibiotics before he or she goes to the dentist. Many children with structural heart disease lead normal active lives, get married and have children.
Our dentist asked about the presence of a heart murmur in our child. What does that mean?
If your child has been diagnosed with an innocent murmur, no special precautions need to be taken for dental procedures or other invasive medical procedures since your child has a structurally normal heart.
However, people who have structural disease of the heart (such as a hole in the heart or an abnormal heart valve) are at higher risk for developing an infection of the heart (endocarditis) following routine teeth cleaning and other dental procedures such as fillings.
Endocarditis can also develop following invasive medical procedures (for example, procedures that use a lighted scope to examine the stomach, colon or bladder).
Taking appropriate antibiotics as directed by your doctor or dentist at the time of these procedures can prevent endocarditis.
If your child requires antibiotics for such procedures because of a heart condition, your pediatric cardiologist will give you a card that specifically lists the type of antibiotics and dose schedule required.
It is very important that these recommendations be followed, as endocarditis is a serious infection that can be fatal.
Contact Cincinnati Children's Heart Center
For more information about pediatric heart-related services, please contact Cincinnati Children's Heart Center through e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the Division of Cardiology, 513-636-4432, or the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, 513-636-4770.
Wow...thanks for the info kids-r-fun. As I mentioned, my daughter has a murmur and I was never told that...and she has been to the dentist already many times! I looked this up on the net after I saw your reply