Heart Murmurs: Everything You Need to Know

Harvard Health Publishing recently reported that “about 10% of adults and 30% of children have a harmless murmur produced by a normal heart.” The American Heart Association also addresses this condition, stating that most children will have a heart murmur at some point in their childhood. 

Based on these findings and our professional experience, we would say “innocent” heart murmurs are extremely common. But, while many murmurs are no cause for concern, it’s still important to get educated about them in case you or a loved one ever experiences them.

What is a Heart Murmur?

Heart murmurs are essentially extra noise that’s made between heartbeats. 

Heart Murmur Causes 

“Innocent” heart murmurs are typically caused by blood circulating through the heart’s valves and chambers or through blood vessels that surround the heart. In not-so-innocent cases, heart murmurs are caused by a defective heart valve, congenital heart defect, when your heart muscles relax between beats (diastolic murmur) or when it contracts between beats (systolic murmur). 

Diagnosis & Treatment

If your doctor detects a murmur during your physical examination, they’ll likely invite you back for further evaluation. Common tests for murmurs include echocardiograms (echos) and electrocardiograms (ECGs). Echos use sound waves to create a picture of your heart and how its working while ECGs record your heart’s electrical activity. From there, your doctor will determine if your murmur is “innocent” or if there’s something more serious going on. At that point, your physician will recommend any number of things: further tests and examinations, medicine, lifestyle changes, etc.

If you or your child was recently diagnosed with a heart murmur and are seeking a cardiologist, contact our office today to set up an appointment.