If your physician or healthcare provider detects a heart murmur and recommends follow-up tests, he or she may be concerned about the possibility of a valve problem. Although some heart murmurs indicate heart valve problems, many heart murmurs are considered to be “innocent” or harmless.
What are innocent heart murmurs?
Innocent heart murmurs are harmless sounds made by the blood circulating normally through the heart's chambers and valves or through blood vessels near the heart. They can be common during infancy and childhood and often disappear by adulthood. They're sometimes known as "functional" or "physiologic" murmurs.
Some harmless murmurs require additional tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or echocardiogram (echo) to rule out the possibility of a problem.
Are innocent heart murmurs normal?
Innocent murmurs are common in children and are quite harmless. In any group of children, a large percentage is likely to have had one at some time. Innocent murmurs also may disappear and then reappear. Read more about childhood heart murmurs.
Innocent murmurs do not require medication, do not create cardiac symptoms, and do not mean that there is a heart problem or heart disease.
Most innocent murmurs disappear when a child reaches adulthood, but some adults still have them. When a child's heart rate changes, such as during excitement or fear, the innocent murmurs may become louder or softer. This still doesn't indicate that the murmur is abnormal or dangerous.
This content was last reviewed May 2016.