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A heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. Murmurs range from very faint to very loud. Sometimes they sound like a whooshing or swishing noise. Normal heartbeats make a "lub-DUPP" or "lub-DUB" sound. This is the sound of the heart valves closing as blood moves through the heart. Doctors can hear these sounds and heart murmurs using a stethoscope. In adults, abnormal heart murmurs most often are caused by acquired heart valve disease. As the heart pumps, blood flow is regulated by valves on either side of the pumping chambers. Valves regulate flow into and out of the ventricle.
Since the left ventricle provides blood to the body, most valve problems are related to either the mitral valve or the aortic valve. Either of these valves can fail to open properly, termed stenosis, or can leak after closing, termed regurgitation. The most common problem is aortic stenosis. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve fails to open properly, thus obstructing blood flow out of the heart. Shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, heart failure and even sudden death can result from this obstruction. The only effective treatment for aortic stenosis is replacement of the aortic valve.
Cardiac Surgery (Valve)
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