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What is a Heart Murmur?

A heart murmur is an extra noise heard during a heartbeat. The noise is caused when blood does not flow smoothly through the heart.

What Are the Types of Heart Murmurs?

Heart murmurs can be innocent (harmless) or abnormal (caused by a heart problem). Types of murmurs are:

  • Systolic murmurs occur during a heart muscle contraction.
    • Ejection murmurs happen during forward blood flow.
    • Regurgitant murmurs happen during backward blood flow.
  • Diastolic murmurs occur when the heart muscle relaxes between beats.
  • Continuous murmurs occur throughout the cardiac cycle.

What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Murmur?

Heart murmurs don’t often cause symptoms. An abnormal heart murmur may have symptoms of the problem causing the murmur, including:

  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exercise
  • Chest pain
  • Fast, pounding, or skipping heartbeat
  • Swollen ankles, feet, abdomen
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Chronic cough

What Causes a Heart Murmur?

An innocent (also called functional) heart murmur may be caused by:

  • Fever
  • Exercise
  • Pregnancy
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia)
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Rapid growth in children

An abnormal heart murmur can be caused by heart problems, such as:

These conditions can cause turbulent movement of blood through the heart. This flow makes abnormal sounds or a murmur that is heard with a stethoscope when your healthcare provider does a physical exam.

UR Medicine's Treatments for Heart Murmur

How Is a Heart Murmur Diagnosed?

To diagnose a heart murmur, your UR Medicine provider will listen to your heart with a stethoscope. They may also order the following tests:

How is a Heart Murmur Treated?

Your UR Medicine healthcare provider will discuss all test results, therapeutic strategies, and decisions with your referring or primary care physician to make sure you get the treatment that’s right for you.

An innocent heart murmur doesn't often need treatment unless there is a clear cause, such as anemia. In some cases, an innocent heart murmur may go away on its own.

Treatment for an abnormal heart murmur depends on the cause. If the murmur is caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or a septal defect, treatment may include:

  • Medications, including Camzyos
  • Cardiac device therapy
  • Minimally invasive alcohol septal ablation
  • Septal myectomy

If the murmur is caused by heart valve disease, treatment may include:

Our team of surgeons at UR Medicine Cardiac Care has extensive experience with minimally invasive procedures, which can be effective for many valve repair surgery patients.

What Sets Us Apart?

UR Medicine Cardiac Care leads the region in the number and scope of specialized services offered. We are home to the only heart failure, heart transplant, and cardio-oncology programs in the region. These and many other specialty programs bring the very latest treatment for a wide range of cardiac care issues close to home.

As the region’s only academic medical center, we have exceptionally high standards that help ensure the best results for our patients. Our experts use state-of-the-art technology to identify heart disease and offer treatments and strategies to maximize heart health. Whether you need to control your high blood pressure or seek specialized care for an unusual heart condition, we have the expertise for you.

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