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Heart murmurs: Symptoms, causes and treatments

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Anatomically, the heart has four chambers: two upper rooms, which are the atria, and two lower sections, the ventricles, each of which are separated by septums with valves through which blood passes. Depending on the different alterations that a person’s heart may have, it can produce different sounds than what is considered normal sounds of heart palpitations. One of these alterations is murmurs, which a doctor detects through auscultation with the stethoscope. Although, in many cases, heart murmurs do not represent a cause for genuine concern, as it is such a vital organ for our body, it is understandable that someone will worry if they find out that they have this alteration, so the question often arises as to whether heart murmurs are cured, which we will try to answer in this FastlyHealarticle.

What does it mean to have a heart murmur?

Under normal conditions, the only noise a heart makes is a normal beating, which occurs each time the different parts of the heart contract to pump blood. A heart murmur is an additional noise produced when a person’s heart has an alteration that alters the normal flow of blood through the valves that separate each segment of the heart or those that communicate the organ with the rest of the circulation.

What happens is that when there is an incomplete or imperfect closure of the valves, they vibrate when the blood passes through them, which produces a sound similar to a blowing when it is listened to through a stethoscope.

To make the diagnosis of a heart murmur, usually, the first step is auscultation by a general practitioner, which is when he listens to our heart through a stethoscope. The diagnosis must be complemented with an analysis of the patient’s health history to determine if any other family member has suffered from this disorder or any other and if there are any other symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, or any other.

The diagnosis can be complemented by an electrocardiogram study, which, in addition, can give a clue to the specialist as to what could be the cause of the alteration.

Symptoms of a heart murmur

A heart murmur does not mean a severe illness, and you can live with it peacefully. It is often considered a relatively normal condition that sometimes has no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they can be the following:

  • Discomfort or tightness in the chest.
  • Fainting.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Swelling of the ankles.
  • Palpitations
  • Weight gain.
  • Very marked neck veins.
  • Daze.
  • Noisy breathing.
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of appetite causes a delay in the growth of children.
  • Cyanosis is the bluish discoloration of the skin.

Causes of heart murmurs

Heart murmurs, rather than being a disease, are symptoms that accompany alterations or variations in the heart’s structures. Some of these alterations are the following:

  • Altered heart valves: due to thickening, valve prolapse, rheumatic fever, or atherosclerosis. Each of these alterations is different, but they have in common that they produce an imperfect closure of the valves.
  • Arteriosclerosis: is a condition that affects the arteries and that can include the heart valves, in which the streets become clogged and hardened, and abnormal blood flow occurs, thus producing noise.
  • Due to congenital heart disease, there is an abnormal communication between the chambers that separate each of the four segments of the heart. An example is the presence of a perforation in a septum, which causes blood to flow through it when it should not and thus produces a murmur and other alterations.
  • Pregnancy: if the doctor indicates that during pregnancy, the baby comes with a heart murmur, it is not something alarming; you must follow the instructions of the specialist doctor, who is the obstetrician-gynecologist, and, later, you will be referred to the cardiologist.

Other causes can include anemia, hypertension, and thyroid problems.

Do heart murmurs heal?

It is important to emphasize that the heart murmur is not a disease but a symptom that accompanies other diseases or alterations of the heart’s structures. They are often a harmless condition and not cause for alarm. However, treatment may be appropriate at times. Depending on the cause and the treatment applied by the specialist, who in this case is a cardiologist, a heart murmur can disappear completely or decrease.

A high percentage of congenital heart murmurs have been shown to clear up on their own or disappear once treatment for the cause has been started. In some cases, the problem can be solved by administering medications that help control heart contractions, blood clots, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and even some diuretic medications. The decision of which type of medication is most suitable for each case will depend on the cardiologist.

In cases where the problem becomes severe, and medications do not help, the doctor will order or consider surgery or cardiac catheterization. Surgery is performed to repair a heart hole or replace an altered valve that causes the murmur with a prosthesis. After this, the person should take antibiotics depending on the doctor’s indication to prevent infections and, thus, eliminate the heart murmur.

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

If you want to read more articles similar to Can heart murmurs heal? We recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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