venous hum

One fifth of the output of the heart flows to the brain. This prodigious amount of blood must return to the heart; it flows back in large part through the jugular veins in the neck. As these large quantities of blood flow down through the jugular veins at high velocity, they can induce vibrations in the walls of the veins. A peculiar humming sound is heard in the upper chest near the collarbone. This is sometimes confused with a heart murmur; it is not a true heart murmur. The proof of its nature is simple: when the child turns her head, or if the doctor presses on the jugular vein on the same side above the source of the sound, the "murmur" disappears. This is a venous hum, and is entirely harmless.

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