Treating a Heart Murmur
Having a heart murmur can be a cause for concern, but the good news is that if you are having an innocent heart murmur, there are treatments available. There are also things that you can do to prevent your murmur from becoming an issue in the future.
Diagnosing a heart murmur
During childhood, about 75 percent of children have heart murmurs. Murmurs are usually harmless, though they may be a sign of other problems. If you have a murmur in your child, it is important to consult with a pediatric cardiologist. The doctor will diagnose your child’s condition and develop a treatment plan. A heart murmur is a silent or audible sound that occurs between the beats of the heart.
The murmur may be caused by a congenital heart defect or an abnormal heart valve. Symptoms of a murmur include shortness of breath, coughing, and breathing difficulties. Heart murmurs in preschoolers are usually harmless, but it is best to have the child evaluated by a pediatrician or cardiologist. The doctor will perform a stethoscope test to listen for the murmur. If the murmur is heard, the doctor will use an EKG to measure the electrical activity of the heart.
The murmur may also be caused by structural problems in the heart. For example, an atrial septal defect, which is a hole between the upper heart chambers, reduces the oxygen content in the blood. A ventricular septal defect, which is a hole in the heart that allows the blood to flow back to the ventricle instead of forward, can cause problems with breathing. The heart can also be enlarged, which can lead to a heart murmur.
The murmur may also be caused due to a leaky heart valve. This can occur in a variety of circumstances, including pregnancy and anemia. The leak causes the blood to leak backward and then shoot back into the left ventricle. The heart will then have to work harder to force more blood into the lungs.
When a murmur is detected, the doctor will ask you a number of questions about your child’s health. These questions include whether or not the child has a family history of heart disease. He may also refer you to a pediatric cardiologist for further testing. Depending on the severity of the murmur, further testing may include a chest x-ray, EKG, or echocardiogram. The doctor will also examine the child’s skin color, breathing, and heart rhythm.
Heart murmurs are usually benign, but they can be caused by a variety of congenital and degenerative heart diseases. The murmur may be a result of a leaky heart valve, a blood thinning disease, or an infection of the heart valve.
The best way to determine the type of murmur is by listening to it. If you have a healthy heart, it should make a noise similar to the normal lub-dub. This noise will usually be soft. A heart murmur that is louder than the normal lub-dub will require further testing. The doctor will listen for the location of the murmur and its timing. The doctor will then try to determine what kind of murmur it is.
Treatment options for an innocent heart murmur
Depending on the cause of the murmur, treatment options for an innocent heart murmur vary. Some heart murmurs are harmless and will go away on their own, while others may be symptomatic of other heart conditions. In some cases, a murmur may require medication and/or surgery.
Innocent heart murmurs are commonly heard in young children. Some of these murmurs may disappear as the child grows, while others may be heard into adulthood. Symptoms of an innocent murmur include not limiting the child’s activity and allowing the child to feel the same as other children. However, a murmur may increase in size or volume during exercise, during excitement, or during fear. A murmur that increases in volume may indicate an underlying condition.
Innocent heart murmurs may also be caused by a temporary condition that causes high blood flow through the heart valves. In a case of high blood flow, the child may be prescribed medicines to help lower blood pressure and reduce fluid retention. The child may also be referred to a pediatric cardiologist to ensure there are no other medical conditions.
Other causes of heart murmurs are high blood pressure, anemia, and heart disease. These causes are typically treated with medicine but may require surgery if they are severe. In severe cases, the heart valves may be replaced. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors may be prescribed to help relax the blood vessels. The heart valves may be replaced with mechanical or tissue valves. These valves are made from deceased pigs or humans.
Another cause of heart murmurs is a septal defect, which means that the left and right sides of the heart are not dividing properly. This condition can occur in a premature infant, or it can happen in a child who is growing rapidly. A septal defect is sometimes called a congenital heart defect. The doctor will do a physical examination and listen for the murmur. In a case of a septal defect, the doctor will use an echocardiogram to confirm the condition.
Heart murmurs are commonly heard in babies, but they can also occur in healthy adults. A healthy heart makes a “lub-dub” sound when it contracts and relaxes. If the heart is not beating properly, it may sound louder. The doctor will listen to the sound with a stethoscope. This is a common way to diagnose murmurs.
Some people who have heart murmurs may have a heart valve that is tight or narrow. This is called a bicuspid aortic valve. This can be repaired using a surgical procedure called balloon valvuloplasty. This procedure is less invasive than open heart surgery. The surgery includes deflating a balloon to open the stiff or narrowed heart valve. The surgeon will then replace the valve with a new one.
Heart murmurs may also be caused by hyperthyroidism or rheumatic fever. A low red blood cell count may affect the viscosity of the blood. These conditions are rare in developed countries.
Preventing future heart problems
During your physical exam, a doctor may detect a heart murmur. These murmurs are caused by turbulent blood flow through the heart valves. However, many murmurs are harmless. Depending on the location and intensity of the murmur, your physician will determine if the murmur is the main problem or an accessory to another underlying problem.
Heart murmurs can indicate an underlying heart condition. Depending on the specific type of murmur, your physician may recommend medications to help treat the underlying problem.
A heart murmur can be caused by a number of different conditions, including high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, and valve problems. If the murmur is the only problem you have, your doctor may be able to treat it. However, if the murmur is associated with a serious heart condition, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist. Depending on the specific heart murmur, your physician may prescribe medications, surgery, or a combination of them.
A heart murmur can be caused in children by rapid growth spurts, pregnancy, or other conditions. A heart murmur that is mild can be treated without surgery. However, if the murmur is accompanied by symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain, your physician may recommend surgery to correct the problem.
A heart murmur can also be caused by structural defects in the heart, such as a defect in the septum that separates the left and right ventricles. This defect may affect the blood flow through the heart and may be referred to as functional mitral regurgitation. The murmur may be caused by a hole in the heart, abnormal heart valves, or a condition that affects the interventricular septum, the wall between the left and right ventricles.
A heart murmur is one of the earliest warning signs of an underlying problem. Your physician may be able to hear the murmur through a stethoscope. However, if the murmur is too loud, it may require more testing and treatment. A murmur is graded according to its duration, frequency, and pitch. A systolic murmur is a louder sound, whereas a diastolic murmur is a quieter sound.
The most important aspect of a heart murmur is determining whether it is caused by an underlying heart condition. A cardiologist will perform a physical exam and evaluate the murmur to determine whether it is a symptom of a broader problem or not. He or she will also perform other tests to check the function of your heart and may prescribe medications to treat the underlying condition.
The most common heart murmurs are the benign, harmless types. However, heart murmurs can be caused by serious conditions, such as congenital heart defects, abnormal heart valves, and a hole in the heart. Your physician may prescribe medications to treat the underlying condition, or surgery to correct the defect.
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