Definition of Heart Murmur

Heart Murmur is the sound of blood flowing through an abnormal opening in the heart. Heart murmur is a sign rather than a condition. Transient heart murmurs are common and benign, generally signaling an occasional or circumstantial incomplete valve closure, and do not require further evaluation or treatment.

Transient heart murmurs may be present during fever, especially in children, and in pregnant women. Heart murmur sometimes occurs with noncardiovascular conditions such as anemia and hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms and Causes

Murmurs are likely to herald cardiovascular disorders when they appear with symptoms such as shortness of breath (dyspnea) with exertion. Persistent heart murmurs may indicate a heart condition that requires treatment. The most common cardiac causes of murmur are

  • Valvular heart disease, in which a valve in the heart fails to close properly and blood flows back through it
  • Atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect, in which there is an opening in the septum, or heart wall, between the two atria or the two ventricles that allows blood to flow directly between the affected chambers
  • Aortic stenosis or pulmonary artery stenosis, in which narrowing of the artery causes blood to back up

Diagnosis and Treatment

Persistent heart murmurs may also be present in genetic disorders such as marfan syndrome or chromosomal disorders such as down syndrome (trisomy 21). These conditions often have cardiovascular components.

The diagnostic path typically includes electrocardiogram (ecg) and echocardiogram or computed tomography (ct) scan and may include more invasive diagnostic procedures such as cardiac catheterization.

Treatment targets the underlying cause of the murmur and may include medications or an operation to repair the problem

See also OPEN HEART SURGERYRHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE.

Heart Murmur – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
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