​Heart Murmurs

Heart murmurs are abnormal sounds made by the blood as it rushes in or near the heart. The sounds are described as swishing or whooshing. A normal heart makes the typical “lubb-dupp” sound which is caused by the closing of the heart valves.

A heart murmur is not a disease but it can be an indication of an underlying heart problem such as a defected valve or a disease which results in elevated heart rate. More often they are not a cause for concern. Innocent heart murmurs are common in children and they don’t pose any health threat. Abnormal heart murmurs, in children, are often due to congenital heart defects.

Heart murmur itself is a symptom for another disease. Your child may have a heart disease if the murmur is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Excessive sweating with minimal exertion

  • Chest pain

  • Dizziness

  • Fainting

  • Persistent cough​

Set an appointment with one of our doctors at the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital, if you suspect a heart murmur in your child.
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

The doctor may discover a heart murmur in your child during a routine check-up, while listening to their heart with a stethoscope. The doctor may prescribe a few tests to determine if the murmur is innocent, or caused by a congenital heart defect or acquired valve disease. These tests include:

  • Echocardiogram (ECHO) in which sound waves, directed at the heart from a device (transducer) placed on the chest, are used to produce images of the heart

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) in which the electrical activity of the heart is recorded to detect any structural or rhythmic problems

  • Chest X-ray to detect any enlargement of the heart caused by heart or valve disease

  • Cardiac catheterization in which a thin tube (catheter) is inserted in the arm or groin and threaded up to the inside of the heart. This is done to inject a dye in the heart to clearly visualize its structure. This procedure is performed if the non-invasive tests fail to provide adequate information​

Heart murmurs are normal in children and often they don’t require any treatment. If your child has an innocent heart murmur, he is as healthy as the next child and requires no medications, and dietary or physical restrictions. However, if your child has been diagnosed with an abnormal heart murmur, he would require the very best treatment possible.

Most often, the underlying cause of the heart murmur is evaluated and treated. These treatments include:

  • Medications to prevent blood clot, regularize erratic heartbeat or palpitation, and lower the blood pressure

  • Diuretics to assist the kidneys in removing excess fluids from the body

  • Surgery to repair congenital heart defects

  • Surgery to repair acquired heart valve diseases​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.



The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.