Heart murmurs can be associated to a damaged or overstrained heart valve. A murmur is the sound of blood as it flows such as passing through a defective heart valve or might be a condition that causes the heart to beat rapidly and forces it to accommodate more blood than normal.
Some individuals are born with valve issues while others experience heart murmurs as part of the aging process or from other heart conditions.
What are the possible causes?
Common conditions can cause the heart to beat rapidly and lead to heart murmurs. This can occur if pregnant or have the following:
- High blood pressure
- Overactive thyroid
In some cases, a heart murmur can also indicate an issue with a heart valve.
Many adults and children experience heart murmurs that are harmless and do not require treatment. In case another condition such as high blood pressure is the trigger, the doctor will deal with the cause.
Certain types of heart valve disease might require the following:
- Medications to prevent blood clots, regulate the erratic heart beat and reduce the blood pressure.
- Diuretics to eliminate excess salt and water from the body to make it easier for the heart to pump.
- Surgery to fix congenital heart defects and correct certain forms of heart valve disease.
How is it diagnosed
In most instances, the doctor will find heart murmurs during a physical examination. The doctor is able to hear it while listening to the heart using a stethoscope.
The doctor might require one or several tests to determine if the heart murmur is harmless or brought about by acquired valve diseases or a congenital defect such as:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG) which measures the electrical activity of the heart
- Chest X-ray to check if the heart is enlarged due to a valve or heart disease
- Echocardiography which involves sound waves to map out the structure of the heart
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on heart murmurs is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage heart conditions including heart murmurs, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.