Murmurs

What causes a heart murmur?

Heart murmurs may be caused by a number of factors or diseases, including:

  • Defective heart valves

  • Holes in the walls of your heart (atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect)

  • Pregnancy (increased blood volume)

  • Fever

  • Anemia (a decrease in the red cells in the blood)

What are the different types of murmurs?

All murmurs are analyzed for pitch, frequency, and duration. They are also graded according to how loud they are (on a scale of 1 to 6  with 1 being very faint and 6 being very loud).

Types of murmurs include:

  • Systolic murmur. This occurs during a heart muscle contraction. Systolic murmurs are divided into ejection murmurs (due to blood flow through a narrowed vessel or irregular valve) and regurgitant murmurs (backward blood flow into one of the chambers of the heart).  

  • Diastolic murmur. This occurs during heart muscle relaxation between beats. Diastolic murmurs are due to a narrowing (stenosis) of the mitral or tricuspid valves, or regurgitation of the aortic or pulmonary valves.

  • Continuous murmur. This occurs throughout the cardiac cycle.

Treatments

Many heart murmurs are considered normal or "innocent." They require no treatment. Some of these heart murmurs may go away on their own.

If the murmur is from a congenital heart defect, treatment may include medicine, procedures or surgery. If the murmur is from another condition, the heart murmur will usually lessen or go away once the condition is treated.  
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Treatments for Murmurs

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Symptoms and Screenings for Murmurs

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Causes and Preventions for Murmurs

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Education and Resources for Murmurs

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Support groups for Murmurs

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Learn More about Murmurs

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