Many residents of North Carolina have probably been diagnosed with heart murmur. Often, this condition is fairly harmless and doesn’t lead to complications. However, there are times when a heart murmur should be evaluated by a doctor.
A heart murmur is an abnormality in the heartbeats. This is caused by blood not flowing normally through the heart’s valves. It can be detected by a doctor when they listen to your heart with a stethoscope. Sounds that differ from the normal two-beat sound of the heart may be present, such as a swishing sound.
If the murmur is not innocent and a doctor fails to diagnose it and the patient has complications, it can be considered medical malpractice. Murmurs that are serious make specific types of sounds that may even suddenly stop.
Heart murmurs are sometimes caused by abnormalities of a heart valve or a defect in the heart’s muscles. Sometimes, it can be present at birth and can be considered a congenital heart defect. However, in adults, it can be more complex.
There are two types of heart murmurs. If the serious one is missed due to a doctor’s negligence, there may be cause for a medical malpractice claim. The types include the following:
• Innocent: An innocent heart murmur simply means the blood flow going through the heart valves is faster. It doesn’t require medical attention in a healthy heart and can occur after exercising or other strenuous activity, anemia, or pregnancy when the heart pumps extra blood for the growing baby. Innocent murmurs most often occur when the heart muscle contracts.
• Abnormal: An abnormal heart murmur is due to an abnormality in the heart valve or heart muscle. It can be present at birth or later in adulthood. In adults, it’s often due to the hardening of the heart’s valves.
If a primary care doctor suspects a heart murmur, they can refer the patient to a cardiologist. The cardiologist may do the following:
• Thoroughly review your medical history.
• Perform a thorough clinical evaluation to identify the symptoms of the murmur and its severity.
• Perform an echocardiogram or sonogram of the heart.
• Administer further testing if needed.
If you are diagnosed with an abnormal heart murmur, you will have to be treated. Treatment focuses not on the murmur itself but on the chief cause of it.
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