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Heart Murmur

Overview

This is a sound we hear when your heart beats. It's made by blood flowing through your heart's valves, or through the large vessels near your heart. There are different types of heart murmurs. Many are harmless, but some are dangerous.

Innocent murmur

What causes a heart murmur? Well, there are two main types. The first is called an "innocent" murmur. It happens when blood flows quickly through a normal heart. We may hear it when you exercise, or when you're sick. An innocent murmur is not dangerous. It may come and go throughout your life.

Abnormal murmur

The second type of murmur is called an "abnormal" murmur. You can have one because your heart has a structural problem, like a leaky valve, or a hole between your heart's chambers. Other abnormal murmurs are caused by heart disease, or by an infection that damages the heart.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of a heart murmur? It's possible you may notice a whooshing or rasping sound when your heart beats. However, usually there are no signs or symptoms of a heart murmur until it's heard through a stethoscope. But if you have things like chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath, don't ignore them. They may be signs of a serious heart problem.

Treatment

Many heart murmurs don't need treatment. Others are treated with medications or a procedure such as surgery or a catheter insertion to fix a problem in the heart. Your doctor will create a care plan that's right for you.