Heart Murmur

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI
    Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI

    Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI

    Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.

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What is the treatment for a heart murmur?

The treatment for heart murmur depends upon the particular cause and the underlying medical status of the patient. Many murmurs need no further evaluation, can be monitored, or are a normal variant. Some murmurs are associated with serious infected valves and require antibiotics. Some valves are structurally damaged and require surgical repair. Atrial septal and ventricular septal defects may require surgery for repair, depending upon the situation.

Newborns, infants, and children who have congenital heart disease may need the help of a cardiologist to determine the need for medications, surgery, or observation.

What are the complications of a heart murmur?

A heart murmur is the physical finding of an underlying structural issue within the heart. A heart murmur itself has no complications. The ramifications of a heart murmur are based on the particular underlying abnormality causing the murmur, and the effect it has on cardiac physiology.

Can heart murmur be prevented?

It is important to remember that a heart murmur is a physical finding and is not a disease or structural heart problem. Rather it is the sound that is made because of a potential blood flow problem within the heart. Maintaining a life-long heart-healthy lifestyle may help prevent some heart valve issues. These lifestyle opportunities include keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes under control. It is a positive choice not to smoke. Regular exercise and weight management also contribute to a healthy heart.

Historically, rheumatic fever was a complication of strep throat (streptococcal pharyngitis). This could cause heart valve damage and the development of a heart murmur. With the advent of good screening tests for strep infections and the appropriate use of antibiotics, rheumatic fever is a rarely diagnosed condition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/30/2015

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