QS Study

Valvular Heart Murmurs

Murmur or bruits are abnormal sounds heard in various parts of the vascular system. A heart murmur is the sound of blood flow turbulence in the heart.

Apart from the sounds of the valves closing the blood passes through the normal heart silently. Should the valve orifices become narrowed or the valve cusps distorted and shrunk by disease, however, a rippling effect would be set up, leading to turbulence and vibrations that are heart as heart murmurs. Valvular heart disease is the most common cause of a heart murmur

  • Valve stenosis – a narrow, tight, stiff valve, limiting forward flow of blood.
  • Valve regurgitation – a valve that does not close completely, allowing backward flow (a “leaky” valve)

If blood is forced through a tight area, turbulent blood flow ensues, as is the case in valvular stenosis. Thus, the intensity of a murmur is not used to the indicated severity of a disease. Valves may become narrowed (stenotic), making it harder for blood to flow through your heart, resulting in murmurs. An abnormal heart murmur may cause no obvious other signs or symptoms, aside from the unusual sound your doctor hears when listening to your heart with a stethoscope Treatment, if needed, is directed at the cause of your heart murmur.

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