Heart Murmur

Overview

What Is a Heart Murmur?

A heart murmur is an extra or unusual noise that a doctor hears when listening to your heart with a stethoscope. Instead of the usual “lub-DUB” sound of a heartbeat, a heart with a murmur produces an extra whooshing, swishing or clicking noise. This noise comes from abnormal or turbulent blood flow through the heart, usually because a heart valve isn’t working correctly.

Aurora Health Care is among the most experienced in the region when it comes to treating people with heart disease, including heart murmurs and all types of valve disease. We are also experts in minimally invasive procedures that can correct heart murmurs and treat heart valve disease very effectively.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Heart Murmur

Sometimes there are no symptoms that indicate a heart murmur. If there are symptoms, they might include:

  • Bluish skin color, especially on your fingers or lips
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Excessive sweating unrelated to temperature or exercise
  • Poor eating and abnormal growth in children, especially in infants with congenital valve disease
  • Shortness of breath during exertion
  • Swelling in your feet, legs or abdomen
  • Weight gain

Causes

What Causes a Heart Murmur?

Doctors classify heart murmurs as either “innocent” or “abnormal.”

Innocent heart murmurs aren’t dangerous, and they generally don’t cause symptoms. Anemia, fever, hyperthyroidism and pregnancy can trigger them. They often disappear over time.

Abnormal heart murmurs usually have one of two causes:

  • Congenital heart defects: Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart that are present at birth. Learn more about congenital heart disease.
  • Acquired heart valve disease: Sometimes, another heart condition makes your heart valve tighten (valve stenosis) or leak (valve regurgitation). Learn more about heart valve disease.

Diagnosis

Personalized Heart Murmur Diagnosis

In most cases, heart murmurs don’t cause serious problems. Still, if you or your child has any symptoms, it’s important to talk with your doctor.

To diagnose a heart murmur, your doctor will perform a physical exam and listen to your heart with a stethoscope. If they detect a heart murmur, they will refer you to a cardiologist for more tests.

To provide a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan, the cardiologist may use tests and diagnostic procedures such as:

Learn more about heart and vascular diagnosis and testing at Aurora.

Treatment

Individualized Treatment Plans for Heart Murmur

If you or your child is diagnosed with an abnormal heart murmur, we will work with you on a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Your treatment plan will depend on what is causing the heart murmur. Your care might include medication. Your doctor can also recommend lifestyle changes that can help keep your heart healthy.

If your heart requires additional treatment, our surgeons are experts in advanced, minimally invasive procedures to help heart valves function better. These treatments include:

  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR): The damaged valve is replaced with an artificial valve, using a catheter. We are recognized as national leaders in this minimally invasive procedure. Read more about transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
  • Valve repair or replacement surgery: We can repair or replace damaged valves with open heart surgery or minimally invasive procedures. Aurora is a leader in heart valve repair and replacement.

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