Heart murmurs are sounds, such as whooshing or swishing, made by rapid, choppy blood flow through the heart. The sounds can be heard with a device called a stethoscope and are different from those of a normal heartbeat.
Heart murmurs can be present at birth or develop later in life. Some heart murmurs, called innocent hurt murmurs, are harmless. An innocent heart murmur is not a sign of heart disease and doesn't need treatment. Other heart murmurs may be a sign of a serious heart condition.
Innocent heart murmurs usually don't cause any other symptoms.
Symptoms of worrisome heart murmurs depend on the cause and can include:
Things that increase the risk of heart murmurs in babies include:
Some medical conditions that can increase the risk of heart murmurs include:
Innocent heart murmurs don't usually need treatment. If a fever or an overactive thyroid causes a murmur, the murmur usually goes away once that condition is treated.
Treatment for a worrisome heart murmur depends on the cause. A worrisome heart murmur requires close monitoring by a health care professional. Medications or surgery may be needed.
Medications that can be used to treat heart conditions associated with murmurs include:
Surgery may be needed to correct a condition that causes a worrisome heart murmur. For example, if a narrowed or leaky heart valve is causing the murmur and other symptoms, heart valve repair or replacement may be needed.
During heart valve repair, a surgeon can:
Heart valve surgery can be done as open-heart surgery, minimally invasive heart surgery, robotic heart surgery or a cardiac catheter procedure. The way the surgery or procedure is done depends on the specific heart condition.