Skip to main content

Heart Murmur

Cardiology Specialists of Orange County

Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases & Interventional Cardiology located in Santa Ana, CA; Newport Beach, CA; & Irvine, CA

Feeling or hearing the whoosh, or swish, of a heart murmur, can be an alarming experience, and although it may be a harmless condition in some cases, in others, it may indicate an underlying health problem. The experienced team at Cardiology Specialists of Orange County in Santa Ana, Irvine, and Newport Beach, California, provides exceptional care for patients who are experiencing heart murmurs and offers convenient in-house diagnostic testing. Call Cardiology Specialists of Orange County today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.

Heart Murmur Q & A

What is a heart murmur?

A heart murmur is an atypical sound made by your heart as it beats, so instead of the valves making a “lub-DUP” sound, they make more of a swishing or whooshing noise.

Heart murmurs aren’t necessarily something to be concerned about, and many people live with heart murmurs that don’t cause them any health problems. 

In some cases, however, having a heart murmur is an indication that there’s an underlying health problem that does need attention. 

For that reason, if your heartbeat doesn’t sound quite right, it’s best to visit the team at Cardiology Specialists of Orange County for an assessment.

What causes a heart murmur?

Possible causes of heart murmurs include:

  • Cardiac shunt
  • Heart valve stenosis
  • Mitral valve regurgitation
  • Valve calcification
  • Endocarditis
  • Rheumatic fever

Some heart murmurs are present at birth. These are called congenital heart murmurs and include conditions such as a hole in the heart or septal defect.

What symptoms might a heart murmur cause?

Symptoms to look out for that might indicate a heart problem include:

  • Bluish lips and fingertips
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Water retention and swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic cough
  • Enlarged neck veins
  • Sweating heavily  
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Heart murmurs that aren’t due to underlying health issues are called innocent murmurs, and shouldn’t cause any other symptoms. However, some abnormal heart murmurs don’t cause other symptoms either, so it’s important to go for a checkup at Cardiology Specialists of Orange County.

What treatments are available for heart murmurs?

If the team at Cardiology Specialists of Orange County diagnoses your heart murmur as being innocent, then you won’t need any treatment. For abnormal heart murmurs, treatments may include one or a combination of several medications such as:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Statins
  • Beta-blockers

For some patients, medication and regular checkups are all they need, but for others, surgery may be required to fix the defect, for example:

  • Balloon valvuloplasty
  • Annuloplasty
  • Repair of structural support
  • Valve leaflet repair

There are several different types of valves available should you need a replacement. Mechanical valves are strong and long-lasting, although you do need to take anticoagulant medication to prevent the formation of blood clots.

Alternatively, you could undergo an autograft procedure, using your own tissue to replace the faulty valve or use a donor valve. Tissue grafts typically work well but don’t last as long as mechanical valves.

The third option is transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). In this minimally invasive procedure, your provider at Cardiology Specialists of Orange County inserts a prosthetic valve using laparoscopic techniques.

If you notice your heart making a strange sound, it’s worth getting it checked out. If it’s an innocent murmur, you then have peace of mind; if it’s an abnormal murmur, you can get a treatment that could very well save your life. 

Call Cardiology Specialists of Orange County today to arrange a consultation, or book an appointment online.