- Turbulent blood flow through a highly dynamic, but normal circulatory system
- Slight valvular abnormality with no long tern consequences (such as mitral valve prolapse, which is a congenital condition)
- Structural abnormalities of the heart valve (most common):
- Congenital defects (present at birth)
- Acquired - arteriosclerosis, rheumatic fever
- Structural abnormality of the heat muscle:
- Congenital defects
- Acquired – myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, long-standing high blood pressure
- Abnormal holes in the structure of the heart persisting after birth:
- Septal defects – connection between the heart's chambers
- Patent ductus-arteriosus – connection between the major artery and vein of the heart
- Endocarditis – infection of the inner lining of heart valves and chambers (endocardium)
- Pericarditis – inflammation of the saclike membrane that encloses the
heart (pericardium); may be caused by:
- Severe kidney disease
- Heart attack
- Autoimmune disease
- Cardiac myoxma – a benign soft tumor within the heart (rare)
Risk factors for normal Heart Murmurs include:
- Age: 3-7 years old
- Rheumatic fever
- High blood pressure
- Autoimmune disease
- Congenital heart defects or disease
Symptoms of abnormal heart murmurs include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Palpitations (feeling of rapid or irregular heartbeat)
- Exercise intolerance
Tests may include:
Electrocardiogram – a test that records the hearts electrical activity using electrodes attached to the surface of the chest. This does not diagnose the cause of the murmur, but can provide other useful information about the condition of the heart.
Chest X-ray – an x-ray to determine the approximate size and shape of the heart, and the presence of associated lung swelling (pulmonary edema).
Echocardiogram – a test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape, and motion of the heart.
Cardiac Catheterization – a tube inserted into the heart through an artery (usually in the groin) to detect problems with the heart's structure, function, and blood supply.
Blood Tests – to check for evidence of a recurrent heart attack or other diseases that may affect the heart (e.g., kidney disease, infections, autoimmune conditions).
Medications can either treat the cause of the heart abnormality associated with the murmur or help compensate for its dysfunction:
- Angiotensin or digitalis – to treat heart failure
- Antibiotics – to prevent or treat endocarditis
- Anti-inflammatory drugs – to treat pericarditis
- Replacement of defective heart valves with artificial ones
- Correction of congenital heart defects
- Removal of heart tumors
- Get prompt testing and treatment for strep throat to prevent rheumatic fever.
- Reduce your risk of atherosclerosis to help prevent valvular heart disease
in the distant future. To do this:
- Eat a low fat diet.
- Get regular exercise.
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