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Heart Murmurs

A heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. Murmurs range from very faint to very loud.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

About Heart Murmurs

A heart murmur is an unusual sound heard between heartbeats. Murmurs sometimes sound like a whooshing or swishing noise.

Murmurs may be harmless, also called innocent, or abnormal.

Harmless murmurs may not cause symptoms and can happen when blood flows more rapidly than normal through the heart such as during exercise, pregnancy, or rapid growth in children.

Abnormal murmurs may be a sign of a more serious heart condition, such as a congenital heart defect that is present since birth or heart valve disease.
NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Eponymes and the diagnosis of aortic regurgitation: what says the evidence?

This review assessed the accuracy of eponymous signs for the diagnosis of aortic regurgitation. The review was generally well conducted but relevant studies might have been missed by the searches. The authors' conclusion, that there was limited evidence to support these signs, is supported by the results presented.

Chronic Heart Failure: National Clinical Guideline for Diagnosis and Management in Primary and Secondary Care: Partial Update [Internet]

This guideline is a partial update of NICE Guideline No 5: Chronic Heart Failure - national clinical guideline for diagnosis and management in primary and secondary care (2003). The aim of the 2003 guideline was to offer best practice advice on the care of adult patients (aged 18 years or older) who have symptoms or a diagnosis of chronic heart failure. It defined the most effective combination of symptoms, signs and investigations required to establish a diagnosis of heart failure, and those which would influence therapy or provide important prognostic information. It also gave guidance on the treatment, monitoring and support of patients with heart failure.

Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of second- and third-generation left ventricular assist devices as either bridge to transplant or alternative to transplant for adults eligible for heart transplantation: systematic review and cost-effectiveness model

This study found that while pulsatile ventricular assist devices used as bridge to heart transplant for advanced heart failure were clinically effective compared with medical management using inotropes, they failed to reach the standard level of cost-effectiveness set by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. It is clear that the technology is improving and currently in the base-case analysis over a lifetime horizon, cost-effectiveness approaches that for interventions adopted by the NHS as end of life treatments..

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Summaries for consumers

Heart failure: Overview

Lots of people with heart failure avoid physical exercise to prevent breathlessness and heavy breathing. But exercise has been shown to be good for heart failure in the long term: Studies show that special cardio training programs can imrpove fitness and quality of life.

Terms to know

Cardiac
Having to do with the heart.
Cardiac Valves (Heart Valves)
Any of the four heart valves that regulate the flow of blood through the chambers of the heart.
Congenital Heart Defects (Congenital Heart Diseases)
Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth.
Heart
The hollow, muscular organ that maintains the circulation of the blood.
Stethoscope
A medical instrument used for listening to sounds produced within the body.

More about Heart Murmurs

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Cardiac murmurs, Murmurs

Other terms to know: See all 5
Cardiac, Cardiac Valves (Heart Valves), Congenital Heart Defects (Congenital Heart Diseases)

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