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Prevalence and clinical significance of cardiac murmurs in schoolchildren

12 Jun 2015

Objective

To determine the prevalence and clinical significance of heart murmurs detected during heart disease screening among apparently healthy schoolchildren.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

32 elementary schools in Dongguan City of China.

Patients

81 213 schoolchildren aged 5–13 years from different elementary schools.

Main outcome measures

The prevalence and clinical significance of heart murmurs among schoolchildren.

Results

Murmurs were detected in 2193 schoolchildren (2.7%), of whom 215 had a structural heart disease (SHD). Of patients who had SHD, 198 children had congenital heart disease (CHD), 12 had mitral valve prolapse and 5 had rheumatic heart disease. In patients who had CHD, the most common diagnosis was a ventricular septal defect. With respect to sex, SHDs were equally distributed between males and females. Of the schoolchildren who had a murmur, 1797 (81.9%) had a murmur with the loudness of grade 1 or 2 and 396 (18.1%) had a murmur with the loudness of grades 3–6. The prevalence of SHD fell significantly with increasing age.

Conclusions

The study suggested that apparently healthy schoolchildren with grade ≤2 cardiac murmurs are least likely to have underlying SHD, especially in those aged ≥10 years. However, echocardiography should be performed in younger schoolchildren with cardiac murmur grade ≥3.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Archives of Disease in Childhood