Listen to Your Heart: Spotlight on Heart Murmurs


During a routine health checkup, the physician will utilize a stethoscope to hear your heartbeat to check if your heart is functioning and beating normally. This will give your physician vital details about your heart health.

If your physician detects a murmur, you may require further testing to determine if your murmur is due to an underlying heart issue. But what exactly is a heart murmur?

Heart Murmurs Can Be Normal or Abnormal

The heart murmur is one of the most common heart sounds considered to be abnormal. Put simply, it is a blowing, rasping or whooshing sound that can be heard alongside your heartbeat. Murmurs come in two types, the abnormal kind and the innocent or physiological kind.

Innocent heart murmurs are found in both adults and kids and are typically due to the sound of your blood as it moves through your heart. They can likewise be caused by pregnancy, fever, or physical activity in adults.

On the other hand, abnormal heart murmurs typically occur when adults have issues with heart valves. For example, if a heart valve fails to close tightly (known as regurgitation), causing blood to seep back or when it becomes too stiff or narrow.

In kids, abnormal heart murmurs are usually caused by congenital heart malformations that may require surgical intervention. Heart murmurs are graded on a scale of one to six, and the grading will depend on the volume of the murmur.

For example, a grade one murmur is very faint, while a six is extremely loud, that you may even hear it without a stethoscope. Also, depending on what heart condition is making your heart murmur, you may feel symptoms, including chest pain shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, bluish skin, rapid heartbeat and fainting or dizziness.

In most cases, when the murmur is negatively affecting the heart’s blood-pumping mechanism, you will start experiencing these symptoms.

What Happens If You Have a Heart Murmur

cardiologist reading results to patientIf your cardiology physician in Delta detects a heart murmur, she will determine its timing, location, and volume to figure out whether it’s innocent or an indication of a serious heart problem. Depending on your cardiologist’s findings, you may need to undergo further testing such as an echocardiogram or EKG, electrocardiogram.

This is to assess your heart’s rhythm or look for structural issues and find out how healthy your heart is. It’s also vital to point out that heart murmurs don’t really need treatment because it’s what causing them that will require treatment.

Treatment options usually include medications, cardiac catheterization, or other surgical procedures, and will be heavily dependent on the severity and specific type of heart problem that’s making your heart murmur.

Although you can’t really do anything to prevent heart murmurs, it’s very comforting to know that they are harmless in most cases and not a heart disease. For adults, they’ll disappear once the underlying problem that’s causing them is treated, and for kids, heart murmurs typically go away without any intervention as kids grow up.

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