What are the different types of heart murmurs? When is this condition a medical problem? What kind of heart murmur is not dangerous? A heart murmur is a term used to describe an abnormal sound during the heart beat, The swishing or whooshing noise heard during a medical exam. Find out about the different types of heart murmurs people can have.
- The innocent heart murmur. An innocent murmur is a type of heart murmur that is not a threat in any way. Someone with a perfectly healthy heart can have an innocent murmur. In fact, children are often the ones who are diagnosed with an innocent heart murmur simply because their beating hearts are closer to the skin with less bone and muscle tissue. A whooshing sound because of the rushing of blood due to excitement or nervousness, for example, is not uncommon. Usually, adults who experience the innocent heart murmur are pregnant women who simply have increased blood flow.
- An abnormal heart murmur. This type of heart murmur is an actual medical condition. It is caused by some sort of abnormality within the heart, such as a hole or a leaky valve. Depending on the cause and severity, abnormal heart murmurs may or may not require medical treatment.
- Abnormal murmurs caused by congenital heart defects. This is usually the case when these types of heart murmurs are found in children. Basically, a structural problem within the heart existed at birth. These structural issues cause abnormal blood flow. The most common causes are heart valve problems and holes in the heart. It is possible for some congenital heart defects to correct themselves; for example, a hole may heal itself. In other situations, close monitoring and medication may be necessary. In others, surgery may be the best treatment option.
- Acquired heart valve disease and abnormal murmurs. Abnormal heart murmurs that occur later in life are due to some sort of acquired problem. Examples of causes of this type of heart murmur in adults include damage from a heart attack, heart failure, advanced high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, rheumatic fever and calcium deposits on heart valves.
There are many reasons for the different types of heart murmurs and just as many outlooks. Regular medical check-ups are a great way to find out if you have one, and to start working with your doctor if any treatment is necessary.