Normal auscultatory findings were studied during a heart survey in which 12 050 Black schoolchildren, aged 2 to 18 years, were examined by cardiologists. Physiological third heart sounds were detected in 96 per cent of children, innocent systolic murmurs in 72 per cent, and innocent mid-diastolic murmurs in 0.27 per cent. The term 'innocent systolic murmur" was used for vibratory systolic murmurs (70%) and pulmonary ejection systolic murmurs (4.2%) but distinct separation of these two murmurs was often difficult. Vibratory systolic murmurs were present throughout the age range. Important features in differentiating innocent systolic murmurs from those caused by mild organic heart disease included the intonation, site of maximal intensity, timing in systole, and behaviour with postural change. Innocent mid-diastolic murmurs are short murmurs occurring immediately after the third heart sound in children, with no supportive evidence of organic heart disease.
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