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Heart murmur in newborn babies – information for parents

Read our guide below to help you understand about your baby’s heart murmur.

You can also download a PDF version of this patient information by following the link on the right.

Your midwife or paediatric doctor has heard a heart murmur during your baby’s routine new-born physical examination.

Most murmurs disappear as the baby grows and are nothing to worry about. Some murmurs may indicate a problem with blood flow through baby’s heart.

This page explains murmurs, helps you to look for any worrying signs and know when to seek help.

What is a heart murmur?

It’s an extra noise in addition to normal heart sounds. You can hear them with a stethoscope as blood passes through valves and the blood vessels of the heart.

This is common in the first few days of life as the baby’s blood circulation adapts to being separated from the placenta.

Does a heart murmur mean there’s definitely a heart problem?

No. Most babies with heart murmurs have completely normal hearts. These babies have ‘innocent’ heart murmurs. Sometimes a heart murmur can be a sign that there’s a problem with the heart for example, a small hole or a narrowing.

This is why our senior medical team review all babies with heart murmurs.

How will I know if my baby has a heart problem?

We’ll see your baby at your 6 week baby check,which is routine for all babies. Your GP will listen to your baby’s heart and see if the murmur persists.

We also arrange for a paediatrician to see your baby in clinic in the next few months. If the murmur’s still there, the paediatric team will do extra tests and may do an echocardiogram (an ultrasound check of your baby’s heart).

What should I look out for?

Most babies with heart murmurs stay well. But if your baby becomes unwell, a doctor should see them urgently.

Signs to look out for include:

  • breathing difficulties
  • becoming pale, clammy, or sweaty
  • poor feeding due to breathlessness
  • lips and tongue becoming blue instead of the normal pink.

What should I do if my baby becomes unwell?

Get medical advice. See your GP or go to A&E urgently.

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About our patient information

This patient advice is intended as general information only. We aim to make the information as up to date and accurate as possible, but please note that it is subject to change.

Always check specific advice on any concerns you may have with your doctor.