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What You Need to Know About Heart Murmurs

Key information about heart murmurs includes the following:
  • A heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during your heartbeat. Murmurs range from very faint to very loud and sometimes sound like a whooshing or swishing noise.
  • Most are harmless (innocent).
  • Sometimes, a heart murmur indicates a heart problem, especially if other signs or symptoms are present.
  • Innocent murmurs are common in healthy children. A child or adult with an innocent murmur has a normal heart.
  • Doctors listen carefully to the heart with a stethoscope to help decide if a murmur is innocent or abnormal.
  • Doctors listen to the loudness, location, and timing of the murmur in order to classify and describe the sound.
  • Most abnormal murmurs in children are due to congenital heart disease (heart defects present at birth).
  • In adults, abnormal murmurs are most often due to heart valve problems caused by infection, disease, or aging.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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