Heart Murmur F.A.Q.
Can a heart murmur kill me?
That depends. What if someone asked us if fever could kill you? If your fever is due to a minor viral infection, it may not mean anything. On the other hand, this fever can be due to a potentially fatal illness like cancer.
What is a heart murmur?
A murmur itself is not a disease. It could be sign of a disease. Heart murmur is simply an abnormal sound that is heard when your doctor listens over your chest with a stethoscope. Normal heart beat sounds somewhat like LUB-DUB.
The heart is a pump with four chambers and four valves. The chambers are separated from each other by valves or walls (septum). If there is a hole in the heart or shrinkage or leakage of a heart valve, the abnormal flow may cause a murmur. Sometimes simple blood flow through the heart chambers may cause a murmur. Later are called flow murmurs or innocent murmurs.
So can a heart murmur kill me or not?
The significance of a murmur varies. Some murmur-causing conditions need immediate treatment. Some heart murmurs are due to issues that will likely never cause trouble for you. Some heart murmurs are due to abnormalities that need to be watched closely over time.
How do I know whether my heart murmur is due to a serious problem or not? My grandfather who is 72 has had one all his life.
In most cases, the significance of heart murmur can easily be determined on the basis of a non-invasive test called echocardiogram. Before the echo days, people would carry the diagnosis of a “murmur” through their life. In this day and age, nobody should carry a diagnosis of “murmur” without knowing its significance.
What do I do if I have a heart murmur?
Based on the tests including an echocardiogram, your doctor should be able to tell you what to expect in the future. Should you restrict your activities? Do you need follow up echocardiograms as a part of wait and watch strategy? Should you tell all your doctors including dentists that you have a heart murmur? These are the questions that your doctor will be able to answer for you.