Heart Murmur

Heart Murmur Specialist
A heart murmur can be totally harmless or be indication of a more serious underlying medical condition. The leading team of doctors at Chinatown Cardiology, with three convenient locations in the Chinatown section of New York City and Brooklyn and Flushing, New York, are experts in diagnosing the cause of heart murmurs.

Heart Murmur Q & A

What is a heart murmur?

A heart murmur is an unusual sound produced by turbulent blood flow, heard between heartbeats over a stethoscope. A murmur can be totally harmless (innocent murmurs) and not cause symptoms or indicate an underlying heart condition, (abnormal murmur), or other medical issues. An abnormal murmur discovered in children is generally due to a congenital heart defect. Every year, approximately 25,000 babies are born with heart defects, such as holes in heart walls or abnormal valves. Abnormal murmurs detected in adults are more likely to be the result of an acquired heart valve problem, or other health issues, such as anemia, high blood pressure or overactive thyroid.

How are heart murmurs detected and their cause diagnosed?

If your doctor discovers a heart murmur during your physical exam, he or she will recommend one or more of the following tests to determine its cause.

  • Chest X-ray
  • An electrocardiogram (EKG). Electrodes are placed on the chest, arms, and legs to interpret electrical activity of the heart.  Each heartbeat is accompanied by an electrical signal that spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom.  As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. EKG recordings give the doctor information about how your heart is working.
  • Echocardiography. This is a simple diagnostic procedure that uses sound waves (echoes) to produce images of your heart, including its size and shape, pumping capacity, location, and extent of any tissue damage.  

How are heart murmurs treated?

Innocent heart murmurs do not require any treatment. Treatment for an abnormal murmur will depend on the diagnosed cause. In many instances, your cardiologist may want to initially just monitor the condition. If treatment is required, again it will depend on the specific issue but may entail medication and or surgery.

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