Heart Murmur

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Heart Murmur Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is a Heart Murmur?

These murmurs are common in healthy children.

Many children will have heart murmurs heard by their doctors at some point in their lives.

A heart murmur is a sound made by turbulent blood flow within the heart.

Most often, the turbulence is normal.

Some abnormalities of the heart that create heart murmurs include a tight or leaky heart valve, Mitral valve prolapse or Congenital heart problems.

Heart murmurs are said to be either systolic or diastolic depending on when in the cardiac cycle they occur.

Heart murmurs are graded from 1-6 depending on how easy they are to hear, with 1 being barely audible and 6 being easy to hear even if the stethoscope is barely on the chest.

Innocent heart murmurs are usually on the quieter end of the grading scale.

The normal heart sounds are described as ‘Lub-dupp’ any other sounds are described as a murmur.

The two most common murmur sounds are a ‘swooshing’ or ‘swishing’ sound.

The ‘Lub-dupp’ sounds usually heard when listening to the heart through a stethoscope are the sounds of the heart valves opening and closing.

A diastolic murmur occurs when your heart is resting between heartbeats.

A systolic murmur occurs when the heart is contracting.

A continuous murmur occurs throughout the heartbeat.

Most systolic heart murmurs are innocent murmurs.

A diastolic or continuous murmur could be a sign of heart problems.

Doctors can often tell if a heart murmur is innocent or abnormal just by listening to the sound of the murmur and the time it occurs within the heart cycle.

A murmur on the left side of the heart is heard on expiration.

A murmur on the right side of the heart is heard on inspiration.

Left sided heart murmurs tend to be more serious.

Right sided murmurs tend to be innocent murmurs.

A thrill is a palpable murmur, meaning it can be felt as well as heard.

When assessing a heart murmur the doctor will pay particular attention to where in the chest the noise is heard as this can indicate the type of murmur.

Particularly in children, the doctor may ask the patient to change position.

For example from sitting to standing as many innocent murmurs can only be heard if the patient is in a certain position.

A rarer form of heart murmur is known as a ‘cooing dove murmur’ which is sad to have a musical quality.

Echocardiography can be used to look at the heart using ultrasound waves, this allows doctors to see the heart and surrounding vessels and may help find the cause of the murmur.

When an innocent heart murmur is triggered by fever, anxiety or exertion, it can disappear after the condition that triggered it goes away.

When a murmur is caused by a heart problem, how long it lasts depends on the type of disorder.

Murmurs caused by valve problems or congenital heart problems usually last throughout life, and in some cases, they can worsen over time.

In some cases a heart murmur is a sign of a serious heart problem.

Heart Murmur Symptoms

A heart murmur itself usually causes no symptoms.

Some adults with a heart murmur also suffer from heart palpitations.

There are generally no symptoms of a heart murmur but there may be symptoms present related to the underlying condition that is causing the murmur.

Altered blood flow can also cause chest pain, swelling or sudden weight gain.

People with heart murmurs sometimes suffer from low blood pressure.

Heart Murmur Causes

One cause of an innocent heart murmur is anaemia.

A high fever can cause an innocent heart murmur, in this case the murmur usually goes away when the fever does.

Heart valve defects can cause abnormal heart murmurs in both children and adults.

The abnormal sounds heart in heart murmurs can be caused by abnormalities in the heart valves.

Abnormal heart sounds can be caused by the blood flowing faster than normal through the chambers of the heart.

A higher than normal cardiac output can also cause abnormal heart sounds.

In some cases hyperthyroidism can cause an innocent heart murmur.

Although the murmur itself is innocent, treatment should be sought for the underlying thyroid problem.

A hole in the heart is a common cause of murmurs in children.

Endocarditis is a serious infection of the lining of the heart, one of the symptoms of this is a heart murmur.

Hardening, or calcification of the heart valves can make it harder for blood to flow through the heart and can cause a heart murmur.

Mitral valve prolapse is when the valve between the upper and lower left hand side of the heart doesn’t close properly. A symptom of this condition is a heart murmur.

Rheumatic fever can cause heart valve damage that can present with a heart murmur.

There are no known risk factors for developing an innocent heart murmur.

There are many risk factors for developing a condition that leads to a murmur.

In some cases after a heart attack a heart murmur will remain, this may or may not require treatment.

A heart condition known as cardiomyopathy is a common cause of abnormal heart murmurs.

Some women have a heart murmur during pregnancy, while usually harmless the patient will usually be offered an electrocardiogram to rule out heart problems.

A rare non-cancerous tumour called a cardiac myxoma can restrict blood flow through the heart and cause a murmur.

Thickening of the heart muscle can restrict blood flow and cause a murmur.

Anxiety can cause a short-term innocent heart murmur which usually disappears when the anxiety does.

The aging process can cause small changes to the heart that can create a murmur which can be either innocent or abnormal.

Damage to the heart caused by tobacco smoking can cause a heart murmur.

A condition called aortic stenosis which is where the opening of the aortic valve is abnormally narrow.

So , it can cause a heart murmur due to the restriction of blood flow through the aorta.

A condition called mitral stenosis can cause a heart murmur due to restricted blood flow through the mitral valve.

Stress can cause a heart murmur due to changes in blood flow, this is usually short term and resolves when the stress has resolved.

A defective septum (the wall between the two sides of the heart) can cause a heart murmur.

People who suffer from a disease known as ‘Turner’s syndrome’ often have a heart murmur which is loudest under the left scapula.

Heart Murmur Diagnosis

Many murmurs are discovered unexpectedly when a doctor listens to someone's heart with a stethoscope during a routine physical exam.

In other cases, when someone is having symptoms of heart problems, the doctor will ask questions related to a specific type of heart ailment.

For example, he or she may ask about a history of rheumatic fever because rheumatic fever during childhood can cause heart valve abnormalities later in life.

Because endocarditis can follow intravenous drug use or certain medical or dental procedures, your doctor may ask about these risk factors.

If the patient is an infant, the doctor will ask whether there is a family history of congenital heart problems.

your doctor may order diagnostic tests, which may include Electrocardiography (EKG), Chest X-ray, Echocardiography etc.

Heart Murmur Treatment

Depending on the cause, an abnormal heart murmur may require treatment or surgery.

If high blood pressure is the cause of a heart murmur, there are many medications that can be prescribed to lower blood pressure.

Once blood pressure is at a normal level the heart murmur will usually stop.

Drugs called beta blockers may be used to lower blood pressure and slow heart rate in certain heart valve problems, this may stop or reduce the heart murmur.

If anaemia is the cause of a heart murmur it can be treated with iron supplements and dietary changes in most cases.

In severe anaemia a blood transfusion may be necessary, if iron levels remain stable the heart murmur may resolve and never return.

If someone with a heart murmur is overweight then losing weight might stop the murmur.

Drugs known as vasodilators may be given to open blood vessels and reduce the pressure against which the heart is pumping.

Diuretic drugs may be given which reduce the amount of water and salt in the blood stream, this lowers blood pressure and makes it easier for the heart to pump.

People with an innocent heart murmur do not necessarily need to make any major life changes.

But should always make medical professionals aware of the murmur at any physical exam.

Heart Murmur Prevention

There is no way to prevent the congenital heart defects that cause some heart murmurs.

If you are at high risk of endocarditis, your doctor or dentist will prescribe special antibiotics before doing any medical or dental procedure during which bacteria could enter your blood and infect your heart.

You also can help to prevent endocarditis by avoiding intravenous drug use.

You can prevent many heart-valve abnormalities by preventing rheumatic fever.

To do this, take antibiotics exactly as prescribed whenever you have strep throat.

Heart Murmur Statistics & Facts

Innocent heart murmurs aren’t actually caused by heart problems and are common in children.

Most children with abnormal heart murmurs have a congenital heart defect.

Acquired heart valve disease is the most common cause of heart murmurs in adults.

People with an innocent heart murmur can have it their whole life without it causing any problems.

Heart murmurs cannot be prevented.

Less than 1% of newborn babies have a heart murmur.

Around 50% of newborns with a heart murmur will have an underlying cause.

When a heart murmur is first detected a doctor will usually preform an electrocardiogram to measure the electrical activity of the heart in order to rule out a heart defect as the cause.

A person is more likely to develop problems with their heart if there is a family history of heart problems.

A chest x-ray will sometimes be performed in patients with a heart murmur to rule out an enlarged heart.

If a problem with blood flow through the veins in and around the heart is suspected, a cardiac catheterisation may be performed.

Cardiac catheterisation involves inserting a cardiac catheter into the veins through the arm or leg and directing it towards the heart.

some x-ray dye is then inserted through the vein allowing doctors to see how well blood is flowing through the veins.

Although there is no way to prevent a heart murmur from occurring, following a heathy diet and getting regular exercise can help prevent some of the health problems that can cause murmurs.

Heart murmurs are common in animals as well as humans.

As well as being common in children, heart murmurs are very common in adults over 50 years of age.

Heart murmurs are most commonly diagnosed in children between the ages of two and four.

If it is suspected that the cause of a heart murmur is a congenital heart defect.

An MRI scan may be performed in order for doctors to clearly see all of the different parts of the heart and how blood flows through them.

The heart has four chambers.

The two upper chambers of the heart are called the atria.

The two lower chambers of the heart are called the ventricles.

If you have a heart murmur and become pregnant your doctor may want to keep a close eye on your heart just to make sure there are no problems.

Someone whose murmur is caused by a valve defect may need to take prophylactic antibiotics before any medical or dental procedure involving an incision.

Heart Murmur Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is a Heart Murmur?

A heart murmur is an unusual or extra sound heard during a heartbeat.

There are two types of heart murmur: innocent (physiologic) and abnormal (Pathologic).

Innocent heart murmurs aren't caused by heart problems.

Abnormal heart murmurs are often a sign of heart problems.

A heart murmur isn’t a disease, and is usually harmless.

Heart Murmur Symptoms

An innocent murmur does not cause any symptoms.

For other types of heart murmurs, symptoms vary depending on the cause.

Decreased tolerance for physical exertion and, in later stages, symptoms of heart failure.

Bluish skin color or fingertips (sometimes seen in babies with congenital heart defects).

If the heart is not pumping blood like it should be then a person might feel short of breath.

Heart Murmur Causes

High blood pressure can cause a heart murmur.

Heart murmurs caused by another factor, such as high blood pressure, will usually go away when that factor is treated.

An enlarged heart can be a sign of heart problems and can cause a heart murmur.

A heart valve that doesn’t close all the way, sometimes known as a ‘leaky valve’ will cause a heart murmur.

Abnormal murmurs can be caused by narrowing of the blood vessels in or around the heart.

Heart Murmur Treatment

Around two thirds of all heart murmurs are innocent and require no treatment.

If an adult has a heart murmur as a result of heart valve damage the treatment options include medication or surgery.

Treatment for a hole in the heart may or may not be required depending on the position and severity of the hole.

If a heart murmur is caused by a weakened heart muscle a drug called Digoxin may be prescribed to make the heart squeeze harder.

If a heart valve is badly damaged it may be replaced with an artificial one through open heart surgery.

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