Table of Contents
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.
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.
Treatment targets the underlying cause of the murmur and may include medications or an operation to repair the problem
Page last reviewed: