Heart Palpitations Symptoms
Palpitations are the unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart in the chest. This symptom can be caused by a change in the rate or rhythm, or by an increase in the force of the contraction of the heart muscle.
- In some patients with palpitations, no heart disease or abnormal heart rhythms can be found.
- In others, palpitations result from abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are heartbeats that are too slow, too rapid, irregular, or too early.
Heart murmur facts
- Turbulent blood flow within the heart causes abnormal sounds called murmurs.
- Most murmurs are functional, or physiologic, and are normal variants. They are often known as innocent murmurs.
- Some murmurs are due to abnormal function of the valves in the heart. The valves may have narrowing (stenosis) or they may leak (regurgitation).
- Holes in the septum or wall that divides the atrium or ventricles (septal defects) may cause a murmur.
- A murmur is a physical finding and not a structural problem within the heart itself. Treatment is aimed at the underlying condition.
What is a heart murmur?
A heart murmur is a continuous sound that is audible with a common stethoscope, produced when blood passes through particular areas of the heart. The heart has four chambers, two atria (singular = atrium) and two ventricles separated by a "skeleton" of cartilage that separates each chamber. This skeleton is made up of the atrial septum, the ventricular septum, and four valves (aortic, pulmonary, mitral, and tricuspid) that direct blood flow in a specific route within the heart allowing the most efficient use of each heartbeat to pump blood to the rest of the body.
How the heart works
- Each heartbeat has two phases, systole when the heart pumps and diastole when the heart chambers fill with blood.
- Blood enters the right
atrium from the body via the vena cava.
- It travels through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle.
- A systolic heartbeat sends the blood through the pulmonary valve, which separates the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery, to the lung.
- In the lung, oxygen is delivered to red blood cells and carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism, is removed.
- The oxygenated blood returns to the left atrium where it travels through the mitral valve into the left ventricle.
- The systolic heartbeat also causes the left side of the heart to contract and send the blood through the aortic valve that separates the left ventricle and the aorta.
- Blood passes through the aorta to the body delivering oxygen to the body's tissues.
The sound of a murmur is generated when blood flow within the heart is not smooth and turbulence occurs. Using a stethoscope, a health care practitioner may be
able to hear a heart murmur during the physical examination. Not all heart murmurs are abnormal or dangerous and may be innocent, but if one is present it may
potentially signal a structural abnormality of the heart.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/30/2015