Comprehensive Post-COVID Care Now Available! Click here to learn more.
Heart Murmurs Treatment

What’s Your Heart Saying? -Heart Murmurs & Their Treatment Explained

Your heart is an incredible organ, tirelessly pumping blood throughout your body to keep you alive – But what if it starts speaking to you in whispers that you can’t quite understand?

This is the condition that health professionals refer to as heart murmurs – In this detailed article, we will explain this condition, exploring what they are, why they happen, heart murmur symptoms, diagnosis and how they can be treated.

At Manhattan Medical Arts, we’ve not only taken the responsibility to spreading awareness about heart murmurs but also to provide the care and expertise you need for a healthy heart.

What Are Heart Murmurs?

Heart murmurs are sounds that your doctor can hear when they listen to your heartbeat using a stethoscope. These heart murmur sounds are different from the normal “lub-dub” of a healthy heartbeat.

The “lub” (systolic murmur) happens when part of the heart contracts and the mitral and tricuspid valves close, while the “dub” (diastolic murmur) occurs when part of the heart relaxes and the aortic and pulmonic valves close.

Instead, heart murmurs are the extra noises that occur during the cardiac cycle. For better understanding, let’s explore the different types of heart murmurs.

Types of Heart Murmurs

Types of heart murmurs are typically divided into two main categories: Innocent (benign) Murmurs and abnormal (pathological) murmurs.

  • Innocent (Benign) Heart Murmurs

Causes: Often due to normal blood flow or minor valve abnormalities.

Characteristics: Soft, brief murmurs that typically occur during specific phases of the cardiac cycle. Generally harmless and require no heart murmur treatment.

  • Abnormal (Pathological) Heart Murmurs

Causes: Typically associated with heart valve disorders, congenital heart defects, infections, or other heart-related issues.

Characteristics: Louder and more prolonged than innocent murmurs. Intensity may change with body positions or activities. Require evaluation and heart murmur treatment to address the underlying condition.

How Common Are Heart Murmurs?

Heart murmurs, particularly innocent murmurs, are relatively common, especially in children. In fact, many children will have an innocent murmur at some point during their development. However, not all heart murmurs are innocent, and it’s crucial to differentiate between the two.

Heart Murmur Causes

Understanding the heart murmur causes is crucial in determining the appropriate course of action for managing this condition.

1. Valve Abnormalities

Heart valves play a vital role in regulating blood flow within the heart. When these valves don’t function correctly, it can result in a heart murmur. There are two main types of valve abnormalities:

Valve Stenosis: This occurs when a heart valve narrows, making it difficult for blood to flow through. This narrowing forces the heart to work harder, leading to a murmur.

Valve Regurgitation: In this case, a valve doesn’t close properly, causing blood to leak backward through the valve. This backflow of blood creates turbulence and produces a murmur.

2. Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects are structural abnormalities present at birth. These defects can affect the heart’s chambers, valves, or blood vessels. Certain congenital conditions can lead to heart murmurs due to the abnormal blood flow they create.

3. Infections

Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, can damage heart valves, resulting in heart murmurs. Bacterial infections that enter the bloodstream and settle in the heart can lead to this condition.

4. Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever, a rare but serious inflammatory condition, can develop after a streptococcal infection like strep throat. If left untreated, it can damage the heart valves, leading to heart murmurs.

5. Other Heart Conditions

Various heart conditions, such as cardiomyopathy, and hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, can generate heart murmurs.

6. High Blood Pressure

Hypertension can strain the heart, causing turbulence in blood flow that may result in murmurs.

7. Anemia

Anemia, a condition characterized by a low red blood cell count, can increase the blood flow rate, potentially leading to murmurs.

8. Medications

Certain medications, especially those used to treat high blood pressure, may cause heart murmurs as a side effect.

Heart Murmur Symptoms

Mostly occurring without anything noticeable, but when heart murmur symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Chest Pain: Some individuals with abnormal heart murmurs may experience chest pain or discomfort.
  • Fatigue: Unexplained fatigue or weakness can sometimes be associated with heart murmurs.
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, especially during physical activity, can be a symptom.
  • Fainting (Syncope): In rare cases, heart murmurs may lead to fainting spells.
  • Palpitations: Irregular or rapid heartbeats, also known as palpitations, can be a sign of an underlying heart issue.
  • Blue Skin or Lips (Cyanosis): In severe cases, heart murmurs can lead to inadequate oxygen circulation, resulting in bluish skin or lips.

Heart Murmur Diagnosis and Tests

Heart murmur diagnosis involves a series of diagnostic tests, including:

  • Physical Examination: Your healthcare provider will listen to your heartbeat with a stethoscope to detect the murmur and assess its characteristics.
  • Echocardiogram: This ultrasound test provides detailed images of the heart’s structure and function, helping identify the cause and severity of the murmur.
  • Chest X-ray: An X-ray may be performed to visualize the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This test records the heart’s electrical activity and can detect irregularities.
  • Additional Tests: Depending on the findings, additional tests such as a stress test or cardiac catheterization may be recommended to evaluate the heart’s condition more comprehensively.

Heart Murmur Treatments

Heart murmur treatment depends on the type, cause, and severity.

  • Monitoring: Innocent heart murmurs, which are harmless and often found in children, typically require no heart murmur treatment. Instead, they are monitored over time as the child grows.
  • Medication: If a heart murmur is related to an underlying condition like high blood pressure or infection, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to manage the condition.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can benefit those with heart murmurs. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, quitting smoking, and managing stress.
  • Surgery: In cases of abnormal heart murmurs caused by structural issues like valve abnormalities or congenital defects, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the affected valves or correct the defect. Surgical intervention is typically reserved for more severe cases.
  • Antibiotics: Individuals with certain heart conditions, such as a history of endocarditis or specific congenital heart defects, may require antibiotics before dental or medical procedures to prevent infection-related complications.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: Even after heart murmur treatment, individuals with heart murmurs may need ongoing monitoring by a cardiologist to ensure the condition remains stable and any potential complications are addressed promptly.

Prevention of Heart Murmurs

Preventing heart murmurs primarily involves maintaining good heart health.

Key heart health tips include:

  • Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity to promote heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
  • Balanced Diet: Adopt a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, as well as sodium.
  • Avoid Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease and heart valve problems. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risk of developing heart murmurs.
  • Manage Blood Pressure: Keep your blood pressure within a healthy range through lifestyle modifications or medication, if necessary.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Attend routine medical check-ups and follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for monitoring your heart health.
  • Prophylactic Antibiotics: If you have a history of endocarditis or specific congenital heart defects, consult your healthcare provider about the need for prophylactic antibiotics before dental or medical procedures.

When to Call Your Doctor

Knowing when to seek medical attention is crucial. If you experience heart murmur symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting, it’s essential to contact your healthcare provider promptly. Early detection and intervention can make a significant difference in managing heart murmurs.


Understanding what your heart is saying through murmurs is vital for your overall health. At Manhattan Medical Arts, we are here to support you in this journey.

Our team of dedicated healthcare professionals is ready to diagnose, treat, and provide expert guidance on heart murmurs and related heart conditions. Don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule an appointment – Your heart’s health is our priority!

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 09/25/2023

Learn more about our editorial process.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

Read More