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Heart Murmurs

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Treatment for Heart Murmurs

Treatment for a heart murmur depends on the cause. Many children and adults have harmless heart murmurs, which do not indicate disease and require no treatment. Sometimes, mitral valve prolapse requires no treatment, just periodic checkups by your doctor. When other conditions, such as high blood pressure, cause heart murmurs, your doctor will treat the underlying cause. Some types of heart valve disease may require medication or surgery. Here are some treatments your doctor may discuss with you:

  • Prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics to reduce the risk of heart infection, typically taken before dental work or some kinds of surgery. This is not frequently recommended.
  • Drug treatments, including:
    • Anticoagulants to prevent blood clots
    • Antiarrhythmics to control irregular heartbeat
    • Beta-adrenergic blockers to control palpitations (rapid heartbeat or heart fluttering)
    • Vasodilators to relax and open the blood vessels, thus reducing the pressure against which the heart must pump
    • Diuretics to remove excess salt and water from the body, making it easier for your heart to pump
  • Surgery to correct congenital heart defects
  • Surgery to correct certain types of heart valve disease

Heart Murmur Prevention

Heart murmurs cannot be prevented except in cases where an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure, may be detected and treated before a heart murmur develops. Infections of the heart valves can also be prevented.

Call Your Doctor About a Heart Murmur If:

You experience symptoms that may indicate heart valve disease or heart failure, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Unexplained breathlessness, fatigue, or fainting
  • Heart palpitations

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on August 23, 2012
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