Heart Home > Heart Murmur

A heart murmur is an unusual sound that is heard during your heartbeat. Most are harmless, but in some cases, it can signal a problem with the heart. By listening carefully to the heart murmur, the doctor can often determine if it's harmless or abnormal. In children, they are often present at birth. In adults, they are often the result of disease or a medical condition.

What Is a Heart Murmur?

A heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during your heartbeat. The sounds range from very faint to very loud and sometimes sound like a whooshing or swishing noise. Normal heartbeat sounds -- "lub-DUPP" or "lub-DUB" -- are the sounds of valves closing as blood moves through the heart.
A heart murmur is not a disease; it is a sound that the doctor hears with the stethoscope. It may be normal, or it could be a sign that something may be wrong. Most heart murmurs are harmless. Some are a sign of a heart problem, especially if other signs or symptoms are present.
Other names for the condition include:
  • Innocent heart murmurs
  • Normal heart murmurs
  • Benign heart murmurs
  • Functional heart murmurs
  • Physiologic heart murmurs
  • Still's murmurs
  • Flow murmurs
  • Abnormal heart murmurs
  • Pathologic heart murmurs.

Types of Heart Murmurs

Heart murmurs can be innocent (harmless) or abnormal (meaning there are other signs or symptoms of a heart problem):
  • Innocent (harmless) murmurs: A person with an innocent murmur has a normal heart and usually has no other symptoms or signs of a heart problem. These are common in healthy children.
  • Abnormal murmurs: A person with an abnormal murmur usually has other signs or symptoms of a heart problem. Most abnormal murmurs in children are due to congenital heart disease (heart defects present at birth). In adults, they are most often due to heart valve problems caused by infection, disease, or aging.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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