Well, I just don't know what I would do without access to this thing known as the world wide web. I've been busy doing my "homework" (research) on heart murmurs. I wish I had all this information yesterday, before the doctors appointment. Then I would have known what questions to ask. Instead I just sat there, stunned, thinking the worse and not knowing what to ask.
This is what I found out at Kids Health. Thank God and the kind people who create these informative web sites. Otherwise, I would still be sitting here wondering and thinking the very worse.
Many parents fear the worst when their child is diagnosed with a heart murmur, but this diagnosis is actually extremely common. In fact, many kids are found to have a heart murmur at some point during their lives. Most murmurs are not a cause for concern and do not affect the child's health at all.
So what, exactly, is a heart murmur? By itself, the term heart murmur isn't a diagnosis of an illness or disorder; but to understand what it does mean, it's important to know how the heart works.
The heart is divided into four chambers; two are on the left side of the heart and two are on the right. The blood returning from the body is pumped to the lungs where it's oxygenated, then pumped through the arteries to the rest of the body. After the oxygen has been used, the blood returns to the heart through the veins and is pumped through the lungs again.
The word murmur describes a swishing sound made as the blood flows through any of the heart's chambers or valves or even through a hole within the heart.
How Are Heart Murmurs Diagnosed?
A murmur is heard through a stethoscope as the heart beats. Because a child's heart is very close to the chest wall, subtle noises can be heard more easily. However, sometimes a doctor won't be able to hear a heart murmur unless the child is sitting quietly. Though they can also be heard in younger infants, heart murmurs are most commonly discovered when a child is between 2 and 4 years old. Some doctors think this is because most children have had time to become familiar with their doctor and are more quiet and cooperative during the exam.
Heart murmurs are rated on a scale from 1 to 6. Grade 1 is barely audible, whereas grade 6 is very loud. Your child's doctor may also note where in the heart the murmur is, what type of noise it's making (for example, whether it's a harsh or blowing sound), where it occurs in the heartbeat cycle, and whether it changes when your child changes position. After this initial discovery, the doctor may refer your child to a pediatric cardiologist for further evaluation.
Because of the common misconception that all heart murmurs are serious, it's important for parents to understand which type of murmur their child has and if it needs further evaluation.
I found several very informative sites when I did a search on heart murmurs. Another one I found is the Children Heart Institute. <The link is right to the heart murmur page where you can click and listen to the different types of heart murmurs.
At this point I am trying to maintain a positive thought process on this. I mean this is the first time that a doctor has heard a murmur. It could just be that freaky one time episode. Or it could be an "innocent" murmur.
Then my mind gets to racing. Too much thinking. The doctor does want to do a chest x-ray and blood work. Could it be more than her persistent cough? Is the persistent cough connected in some way to the heart murmur? He was asking about her playing and if she seemed to lose her breath or begin coughing when running around.
I need to keep my mind away from this. A mothers mind will make her sick to her stomach thinking about this kind of stuff. It doesn't help that this is the 5th day I've woke up with this FREAKING headache. I just want to lay down and cry, but I know that crying will make it worse, so I try not to. My neck is so sore and the headache seems to climb up from my aching neck to the top of my head and across my forehead. More Ibuprofen please!
Just got off the phone with my sister-in-law. Every now and then it's nice to have a "sounding board", someone who you can talk to. Someone who will listen to all your biggest worries and fears and then they will talk you down from where you are. Thanks for listening to me Cathy and for helping to aleviate some of my fears!
Well, I have got to go and get some phone calls and appointments made. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.