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Heart murmur: causes and symptoms

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

What is a heart murmur ? This is a noise very similar to a grating, or harsh hiss heard during the heartbeat of the muscle. The sound we hear results from irregular blood flow that can originate near the heart or its valves. The function of the heart valves is to close with each beat so that the blood flows in only one direction. When a valve does not close well and the blood returns, it is called regurgitation; Likewise, when blood passes through a very narrow valve, it is called stenosis: both conditions cause a heart murmur.

The heart murmur can be identified and classified according to how loud the stethoscope transmits noise. There are several degrees of drones, grade I refers to an almost imperceptible sound, but there are also murmurs that are so noticeable that they can be identified by simply placing the palm on the heart. There are many causes and symptoms of a heart murmur; keep reading this FastlyHealarticle and know what they are.

Types of heart murmurs

Not all heart murmurs occur at the same stage of the beat; for this reason, they are classified as follows:

  • Systolic murmur: This murmur occurs during a contraction of the heart. They can occur due to a narrow vessel or irregular heart valve function.
  • Diastolic only: Occurs when the heart relaxes between beats. It occurs when the mitral or tricuspid valves narrow or when the aortic or pulmonary valves do not close properly, and blood is returned.
  • Continuous . It is a murmur that occurs throughout the heart function.

Although having a heart murmur can be alarming news, it is essential to note that not all murmurs indicate heart disease. In many cases, murmurs are a secondary symptom of diseases such as anemia or complications such as fever, and they disappear once the condition is treated.

There is also what is known as an innocent murmur, which is common in children but is not related to a congenital disability and usually disappears when the person reaches adulthood. Children who have an innocent murmur can lead their lives typically without restricting physical efforts.

Causes of a heart murmur

There may be many reasons why the heart makes an irregular and abnormal sound during the beat. When an abnormality in the heart causes the murmur, the leading causes are:

  • Heart valve problems: Occurs when the valves are regurgitated or stenosed. Regurgitation occurs when the valve does not close properly, and blood flows back. Stenosis indicates the valve’s narrowing, hardening, or thickening, which causes the valve not to open enough and thus decreases the amount of blood flow through the valve. The valves can stop working correctly or deteriorate due to diseases such as rheumatic fever or arteriosclerosis, both of which commonly affects the aortic valve.
  • Communication problems between two chambers of the heart, that is, between two atria or two ventricles. When this is the cause of the murmur, it is usually due to congenital heart disease.
  • Artherosclerosis. This disease can also narrow and thicken the heart’s arteries, causing turbulence in the blood flow that generates a kind of rhythmic hiss as blood flows through the streets.
  • There are some stages of life, such as pregnancy, in which a heart murmur can occur, which disappears over time. Diseases such as anemia, hyperthyroidism, or hypertension can trigger heart murmurs.
  • Any genetic alteration in the arteries, veins, or cavities of the heart.
  • There may be some murmurs in children that are part of their development and growth and do not require any treatment: pulmonary flow murmur, Still’s a buzz, and venous hum.

Symptoms of a heart murmur

When the murmur stems from a mild condition, as with innocent murmurs, it is usually not accompanied by any symptoms; they only represent a causal finding. However, when the cause is only congenital heart disease, they can lead to growth problems, make it difficult to make any effort, and give the lips and fingertips a blue hue, also called cyanosis.

A heart murmur can be discovered during any medical check-up since only auscultation will be necessary to detect it; for this reason, most heart murmurs are diagnosed when a person attends the doctor to treat another condition. When the cause of the buzz is functional, no type of treatment is required. However, when the reason is hypertension, the person should be prescribed medications to control blood pressure. Likewise, when the origin of the murmur is some valve disease, it is necessary to take drugs to maintain their function, and in some more severe cases, surgery is considered.

When the doctor discovers a heart murmur

If auscultation with the stethoscope were to reveal a heart murmur, it is common for the specialist to prescribe a series of diagnostic tests to identify the cause of said wheezing and to know the risk to heart health that this suggests. The most common tests are:

  • Echocardiogram: It allows to know the operation of the valves, how the movement and size of the heart’s walls, and if the murmur that is heard originates in a valve or not.
  • Chest X-ray: It is the x-ray that allows the doctor to check the size of the heart.
  • Electrocardiogram: It allows for diagnosing arrhythmias or any other irregularity in the heartbeat. It also lets you know if the heart is more significant than its standard size.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Heart murmur: causes and symptoms, we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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