Heart Murmurs
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When blood passes through the chambers of the heart and its valves close and open periodically, the heart generates a barely inaudible sequence of sounds. The heart murmurs denote unusual sounds of heart that are generated due to tumultuous flow of blood. Heart murmurs do not come under the purview of regular cardiac physiology and hence requires deeper probing. They can be both trivial and life threatening. In most cases however they are not serious and can be ignored to a large extent.

Causes of Heart Murmurs

The incidents of Heart murmurs are most prevalent in young children and babies. The bulk of the incidents does not point to any cardiac disease but happens due to alterations in the heart’s structure. Fever and excitement are two factors that lead to heart murmurs as they increase the pumping rate of the heart. It may also indicate congenital cardiac ailments. In some instances, heart murmurs can also be initiated by infections and heart failure.

Symptoms of Heart Murmurs

The stethoscope is an instrument that is used to detect Heart murmurs. The ailment does not have any explicit symptoms. Nevertheless, if the murmur stems from any disease, the child‘s lips can turn bluish. Such children may also suffer from breath shortness, poor growth etc.

Types ofHeart Murmurs

The heart murmurs can be categorized according to 7 distinct aspects- shape, timing, location, intensity, radiation, pitch and quality. The murmurs classified according to timing are diastolic and systolic. The intensity denotes the noise made by the murmurs and it is sub categorized into 6 scales. While grade 1 murmur is hardly audible the grade 6 sound is quite loud and can be heard even when the stethoscope is not directly in touch with the chest of the person. Radiation denotes the place where the noise points to. Usually the murmur sound radiates in the way the blood is flowing.

The late systolic murmurs begin after S1; in case it is left sided, it can extend up to S2. This generally follows a crescendo pattern. The commonest causes of this variant of heart murmurs include, tricuspid valve prolapse, mitral valve prolapse and papillary muscle dysfunction.

The Mid-systolic ejection murmurs happen because of blood flowing through the semilunar valves. The most prevalent causes of this heart murmur are excess flow by normal semilunar valves, outflow blockage, dilation of pulmonary trunk or aortic root and structural alterations in semilunar valves without blockage.

The Diastolic murmurs begin at S2 and end either before or at S1. The early diastolic murmurs are caused by pulmonary and aortic regurgitation. The early diastolic murmur stemming from pulmonary regurgitation is triggered by pulmonary hypertension. It is kind of a blowing and high pitch murmur. The diastolic murmur caused by Aortic regurgitation can be heard over right second intercostal space and left sternal border, particularly if the person bends forward and holds his breath. The Dock's murmur is a variant of early diastolic murmur that can be treated by a Coronary artery bypass operation.

The Mid-diastolic murmurs end before S1 and begin after S2. They take place due to increased blood flow through the atrioventricular valves that happen during the quick filling phase from tricuspid or mitral stenosis. The murmur caused by Tricuspid stenosis has a rumbling sound pattern and it is audible over left sternal border. On the other hand, the murmur stemming from Mitral stenosis is best audible in the left ventricular impulse region. It generally begins with an opening thud.

The Late diastolic murmurs extend to S1 and usually begin after S2. These include myxoma, tricupsid stenosis and mitral stenosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Heart murmurs

Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate a harmless murmur from a sinister one. The tests used to detect threatening murmurs include echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and a chest X-ray. These tests can effectively identify anomaly in heart structures. The treatment depends on the root cause of the murmurs. Harmless murmurs do not require any treatment and the affected child can live a normal life. But murmurs indicative of congenital cardiac diseases need major heart surgery.

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I have a murmur and have been told many times that is fine. But sence March of last year it has went up to as many as 100 a day if not more. The feeling of excitment in my chect as I have one and a large bumping feeling that takes my breath away and I also feel the murmur in my stomache. I have new symtoms that started after our move into our new home and it is getting worse. I get lightheaded then feel like I will p[@] out. My face gets red and I get tingles down my arms and my spine. I also get a funny feeling up my neck into my head. I have an appointment soon but just thought I would share my story with others and If you would like to know my results I can post another comment about it after the visit or visits. Thanks and have a blessed day.
#1 - Patty - 02/13/2010 - 01:34
Did you get tested for Lyme
#2 - Jon - 03/18/2011 - 10:01
I went to the hospital knowing I probably had a TIA. Once there, they ran tests on me for 5 days and only found out two things... 1) that I had a sinus infection and 2) that I had a hole in my heart which had never been known about! For around 5 years now, there is a feeling in my chest like a dull ache. Testing has shown nothingm though. Could this dull ache be something to do with the hole in my heart? Sometimes that dull ache isn't so dull but I never get any answers!
#3 - Rick - 07/27/2012 - 11:52
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