Taking a Closer Look at Heart Murmurs

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Heart murmurs are incredibly common in adults and children, and they are often not a major concern for a person’s health. However, a heart murmur can be serious, so it is important to have a thorough discussion about diagnosis and treatment when your doctor has noticed a heart murmur during a physical exam.

What Is a Heart Murmur?

A heart murmur occurs when there are abnormal sounds during the heartbeat, which can easily be heard through a stethoscope. These sounds are caused by turbulent blood flow, which may be caused by a number of different conditions. In some cases, heart murmurs do not pose a threat to ongoing heart health and may resolve on their own. These are called innocent heart murmurs. Abnormal heart murmurs are more serious, and these could be indicators of harmful congenital conditions or damaged heart valves that will require treatment.

What Causes Heart Murmurs?

The causes of innocent heart murmurs are generally conditions that cause blood to flow more rapidly through the heart like pregnancy, fever, or anemia. With abnormal heart murmurs, the cause may be congenital or acquired. Congenital conditions are more likely in children with heart murmurs, while adults tend to develop abnormal murmurs from acquired damage to a heart valve.

When Should a Heart Murmur Be Medically Treated?

Determining the difference between an abnormal and innocent heart murmur will require the opinion of your doctor, which could lead to diagnostic testing with a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, or cardiac catheterization. When these tests reveal abnormalities such as heart valve abnormalities or holes in the heart, treatment will become necessary. Typically catheterization can repair faulty structures in the heart, and medication may be helpful in cases where there are underlying conditions weakening the heart muscle.

For complete cardiac care to address heart murmurs and any other heart health concerns, connect with MountainView Hospital and explore our sophisticated Las Vegas facilities. You can find a physician to handle your care at our hospital by calling our healthcare referral line at (702) 233-5300, or visit our website to find more information about our services. 

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