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Heart Murmurs


Overview :

A heart which is beating normal makes two sounds, "lubb" when the valves between the atria and ventricles close, and "dupp" when the valves between the ventricles and the major arteries close. A heart murmur is a series of vibratory sounds made by turbulent blood flow. The sounds are longer than normal heart sounds and can be heard between the normal sounds of the heart.

Heart murmurs are common in children and can also result from heart or valve defects. Nearly two thirds of heart murmurs in children are produced by a normal heart and are harmless. This type of heart murmur is usually called an "innocent" heart murmur. It can also be called "functional" or "physiologic." Innocent heart murmurs are usually very faint, intermittent, and occur in a small area of the chest. Pathologic heart murmurs may indicate the presence of a serious heart defect. They are louder, continual, and may be accompanied by a click or gallop.

Some heart murmurs are continually present; others happen only when the heart is working harder than usual, including during exercise or certain types of illness. Heart murmurs can be diastolic or systolic. Those which occur during relaxation of the heart between beats are called diastolic murmurs. Those which occur during contraction of the heart muscle are called systolic murmurs. The characteristics of the murmur may suggest specific alterations in the heart or its valves.




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