worry when they hear that their child has a heart murmur.
Happily, most heart murmurs in children are perfectly
normal. One such
murmur is the “venous hum”.
The venous hum is caused
by turbulence in the jugular veins (the vessels in the neck that
are very visible when people sing on television).
In children, the jugular veins become narrow in a
particular spot as they pass under the collar bone (clavicle), and
the blood going through this narrow area makes a whooshing sound
very much like water through a kink in a garden hose.
This whooshing sound is the murmur we call a venous hum.
It is very clear that the venous hum is not caused by any
type of heart defect – it is a normal sound.
The venous hum may occur
in as many as one fifth of all children from time to time.
Commonly, a venous hum will come and go over time.
does it mean?
It is very important to
understand that the venous hum is perfectly normal.
It does not suggest any type of heart disorder.
Children with a venous hum can play sports just like any
other normal child, and do not require special medical treatment
when they go to the dentist or have other medical procedures.
In fact, it is perfectly fine not to mention this murmur
when one is filling out forms for insurance companies, school
sports clearance, and dental visits.
Finally, it is not generally necessary for a child with a
venous hum to have additional visits with a cardiologist unless
they are under a year of age, in which case one additional visit
is sometimes recommended just because a lot of changes take place
in a child’s heart over the first year of life.
do I tell the grandparents?
Your best bet is to say that your child has a normal heart.
Please feel free to share this information sheet as an
explanation for anyone with whom you like.
Here are some Internet links that might be helpful. They look pretty good, but I cannot vouch for their
accuracy or quality. As
always with the Internet, browser beware!
Heart Association: Innocent Murmurs
Academy of Family Physicians - Heart Murmurs in Children--What
Parents Should Know
Are Infant Heart Murmurs Common?
Nemours Foundation: Heart