A heart murmur is an abnormal or extra sound from a heartbeat. While the majority of cases are harmless, some signal underlying problems that require medical attention.
There are two types of heart murmur:
- Innocent heart murmurs are harmless and make up the majority of cases. They are often caused by rapid blood flow within or near your heart.
- Abnormal heart murmurs are caused by a heart condition, often a congenital defect (a structural problem present at birth) in children or heart valve disease in adults.
Heart murmur: what you should know
- Heart murmurs are common in children and often part of normal development — roughly 30 percent of children will have a murmur at some point. Less than 1 percent of children will actually have something wrong with their heart.
The only symptom experienced by someone with an innocent heart murmur is the murmur itself. But abnormal heart murmurs are accompanied by symptoms of the underlying heart problem and may include the following:
- Chest pain
- Chronic cough
- Sudden weight gain
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
Care for heart murmur at Rush
A thorough examination by your physician is usually enough to root out the worrisome murmurs from the harmless ones. Further testing may include an ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram).
Treatment is not required for people with innocent heart murmurs. If a heart condition is causing the heart murmur, doctors will likely need to treat the underlying disease.
The approach of physicians at Rush depends on the type and severity of the condition.
Why choose Rush for heart murmur care
- Experts at the Rush Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease Program provide personalized treatment for heart problems that are present at birth.
- Physicians at the Rush Center for Adult Structural Heart Disease offer the full range of treatment options for valve diseases, including mitral valve prolapse, pulmonary stenosis and aortic valve stenosis.