Heart murmurs may be caused by a number of factors or diseases, including:
- Defective heart valves
- Holes in the walls of the heart (atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect)
- Pregnancy (increased blood volume)
- Anemia (a decrease in the red cells in the blood)
All murmurs are analyzed for pitch, loudness, and duration. They are also graded according to their intensity (on a scale of one to six, with one being very faint and six being very loud).
Types of murmurs include:
- Systolic murmur. This occurs during a heart muscle contraction. Systolic murmurs are divided into ejection murmurs (due to blood flow through a narrowed vessel or irregular valve) and regurgitant murmurs (backward blood flow into one of the chambers of the heart).
- Diastolic murmur. This occurs during heart muscle relaxation between beats. Diastolic murmurs are due to a narrowing (stenosis) of the mitral or tricuspid valves, or regurgitation of the aortic or pulmonary valves.
- Continuous murmur. This occurs throughout the cardiac cycle.
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Online Resources of Cardiovascular Disease