What is heart murmur?
A heart murmur is a whooshing, rasping or rasping noise heard during a heartbeat. It is a noise comparable to that made by air in a blowtorch, which is usually pathological, although in young children it may be normal. It can be heard with the aid of a device called a phonendo, which is placed at chest level.
What are the symptoms?
Functional murmurs or those that involve a mild pathology do not present symptoms. In many occasions they are a casual finding.
However, murmurs that reflect an important congenital heart disease even affect the patient’s growth and greatly limit his or her capacity for exertion. Sometimes a bluish discoloration of the lips can be seen in the fingertips.
Causes of a heart murmur or why it occurs
The causes of a heart murmur may be due to:
- A thickened or abnormal heart valve.
- An abnormal communication between two chambers, due to congenital heart disease.
- Hypertension, pregnancy, anemia, fever or an overactive thyroid gland.
- Congenital alterations in the arteries and veins connected to the heart.
Heart murmurs are always indicative of increased blood flow at the cardiac level, either due to an alteration at the level of a heart valve or due to an extracardiac cause. In addition, the location of the murmur, the acoustic character, the location, the irradiation and its variation in relation to effort and change of position, are always data to be taken into account since they offer a lot of information in relation to the pathology that has caused it.
What is the treatment?
In general, heart murmurs do not require any treatment. If the murmur is associated with a latent disease, such as arterial hypertension, it will be necessary to treat the disease. When the heart murmur is due to valvular disease, drug treatment or surgical intervention may be necessary.