Heart murmurs, the sound made during the heartbeat cycle, are the result of the turbulent blood present near or in your heart. They can be heard using a stethoscope. In simpler terms, the sound of a normal heartbeat is ‘lubb-dupp’ while that of heart murmurs is switching or whooshing.
Heart murmurs are not a condition but an indication of an underlying heart problem. It can be congenital or get developed later in life.
In case of an innocent heart murmur, a harmless one, you won’t see any signs of symptoms. Even in the case of an abnormal heart murmur, there will be no obvious symptoms or signs, apart from the sound the doctor hears while listening to your heart through a stethoscope. However, there are a few signs that might indicate a heart problem including the following:
- Sudden weight gain
- Skin that looks blue, especially on the lips and fingertips
- Enlarged neck veins
- Shortness of breath
- Enlarged liver
- Chronic cough
- Chest pain
- Heavy sweating
- Poor appetite
- Failure to have a normal growth
As mentioned above, heart murmurs are usually not serious. But, if you or your child has a heart murmur, you should consult a specialist at the Rainbow Children’s Heart Institute, the bestcardiac hospital in Hyderabad. They can tell you if the heart murmur is harmless or not and whether any treatment is required or not.
A heart murmur is of two types – innocent and abnormal. In the case of the innocent murmur (more common in newborns and children), you will have a normal heart. Abnormal heart murmurs are more serious as it is the result of a congenital heart defect. In the case of adults, it is usually because of an acquired heart valve problem.
- Innocent heart murmurs
Innocent heart murmurs can occur because of the increase in blood flow across the valve. There are some conditions that can cause this rapid blood flow like:
- Exercise or any physical activity
- Excess of thyroid hormone in the body, also known as hyperthyroidism
- Insufficient red blood cells for carrying oxygen to the body tissues (anemia)
- Phases of rapid growth like adolescence
These can disappear over time. Even if they don’t, you will be able to live your life without having any health problems.
- Abnormal heart murmurs
Congenital heart defects are the main cause of abnormal heart murmurs. Here are some examples of such congenital heart defects:
- Cardiac shunts or holes in the heart – Cardiac shunts are caused because of an abnormal flow between the blood vessels and the heart chambers. Holes in the heart or septal defects are another condition that can lead to heart murmurs. However, their severity is dependent on the location and size of the hole.
- Heart valve abnormalities – These abnormalities are usually present in newborn, but are undiscovered until later in life. This includes stenosis (valves don’t allow blood to flow through them) and regurgitation (valves that leak or don’t close properly).
There are some other causes like conditions and infections that cause damage to the heart structures including:
- Valve calcification – As you age, this condition can cause thickening or hardening of the valves like in aortic valve stenosis or mitral stenosis. Now that valves are narrowed or stenotic, it will be harder to have proper blood flow, resulting in murmurs.
- Endocarditis – This is the infection of the valves and inner lining of the heart that occurs when germs or bacteria from other parts of the body like the mouth get into the bloodstream and reach your heart. If this is left untreated, it can cause damage to your heart valves. If you have heart valve abnormalities, you are more likely to develop this condition.
- Rheumatic fever – This is a rare but serious condition occurring when you don’t receive proper treatment for strep throat infection. Your heart valves will get permanently affected resulting in interference with the normal blood flow.
As mentioned above, there is no treatment required. However, if you have an abnormal heart murmur, you need to contact the best cardiologists available at the Rainbow Children’s Heart Institute who can provide you with the necessary treatment. You just need to search child cardiologist near me. Here are the options that you will have:
This will depend on the heart condition, leading to the murmur. Some medications that might be prescribed to you include:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Most of the valve conditions need surgery for treatment. Depending on your condition, here are a few options that you will have:
One of the following procedures can be recommended for repairing a valve:
- Repair of structural support
- Valve leaflet repair
- Balloon valvuloplasty
If your valves need to be replaced, you will have the following options:
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
- Open-heart surgery
Heart murmurs can be harmless and dangerous. It is important that you don’t take any risk and seek immediate medical conditions. So, if you see any of the above-mentioned signs, book an appointment with the cardiologists at the Rainbow Children’s Heart Institute, the best cardiac hospital in Hyderabad.