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- Heart murmur facts
- What is a heart murmur?
- What causes a heart murmur?
- What are the risk factors for heart murmur?
- What are the symptoms of a heart murmur?
- When should I seek medical care for a heart murmur?
- How is a heart murmur diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a heart murmur?
- What are the complications of a heart murmur?
- Can heart murmur be prevented?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for a patient with a heart murmur?
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.