Loud Heart Murmur

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RisaA
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 1/24/2012 9:24 AM (GMT -6)   
I wanted to see if anyone could offer any sort of advice or share experiences on an adult heart murmur.
 
I'm 30 and I went to see my doc yesterday.  After using her stethoscope, she had a reaction of some surprise saying "I've never heard your murmur this loud before... have you ever been told you have a murmur?" 
 
Well, the answer was no.  Outside of an EKG last year that showed possible LVH, I've never heard any other issues related to my heart--though the reason I got the EKG to begin with was over some palpitations and intermitten chest pain.  To hear that I apparently have developed a sudden murmur, and that it's loud, is causing me a great deal of anxiety (something that I've always had a LOT of trouble with). 
 
From what I've read, murmurs are usually only a problem when they're accompanied by symptoms.  Well, I've had some symptoms --palpitations here and there, as well as occasional twinges of pain, most of which my doc thought was fibromyalgia (a lot of my chest pain is muscle related, tender to the touch and all--but now I'm second guessing everything), and I do get occasional dizziness (though I've got fluid in my ears currently).  So now I'm freaking out, which can't be making this problem any better.
 
I'm waiting for a cardiologist's office to call me back so I can schedule an echo, which my doc recommended, and I'm trying not to panic.  If anything, I guess I just want to hear from someone that's had a non-'innocent' murmur, and hear that whatever COULD be wrong is treatable at the very least.  Help?

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/24/2012 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Risa,
 
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I am glad you found us and hope we can help you out a bit.
 
Most patients are quite alarmed when their doctor tells them they have a heart murmur -- and usually unnecessarily so. A "heart murmur" is the sound a physician hears through her stethoscope. It is caused by rough or turbulent blood flow. This can be due to any one of several things.

One cause is a problem with one of the valves that allow blood to flow from one chamber of the heart to the next without backflow. Guiding blood in the right direction is achieved by an ingenious system of these valves, each of which opens to allow blood to flow forward and then closes to ensure that that blood does not leak backward into the chamber from which it has just come.

In the normal heart, the delicate leaflets of tissue that make up the valve -- as thin as tissue paper -- open and close smoothly and completely -- like swinging doors that guard the entrance to a store. If those leaflets are thickened, as they are in older people or in people who have had some injury to the valve  they do not open completely (or may not close snugly) and the smooth flow of blood is disturbed, creating a unique sound that your doctor learns to interpret. The most expert physicians are able to tell simply by listening which valve is involved, and what is wrong with it.

Another common cause of turbulent blood flow has nothing to do with inadequate or diseased heart valves. Sometimes either the speed of blood flowing through the heart or the volume of blood passing through it is increased.

Other temporary - and treatable - conditions that cause heart murmurs are anemia and hyperthyroidism. Some murmurs are simply "innocent" or "functional"; many young people have soft murmurs that are not of any consequence because they are simply the result of the vigorous beating of their hearts. These are more apparent in thin people.

Having an echocardiogram can determine if your murmur is "functional" or "innocent." Reference: Dr. Legato My husband was told he had a heart murmur at age 24 and after that first time no other Dr. mentioned it.  He is now 65 years old. 

Let us know what your echo results are.

Kindly,

Kitt


~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

www.healingwell.com

"only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be"

RisaA
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 1/24/2012 11:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for your wonderfully thorough and concise answer, Kitt.

I guess it's just the pairing of the cirumstances--between the 'loudness' and the symptoms--that makes me worry. She's doing some blood work, too, so I guess we'll see if that offers any other helpful (or panic-inducing) answers. My last bloodwork results showed no problems with anemia or thyroid problems, but I sometimes wonder about my thyroid. A lot of these symptoms are ambiguous, I'll admit, but I seem to share in a lot of them, like the hair shedding, extremely brittle nails, as well as the palps and such, just to name a few.

I get that the murmur is really just the sound, not so much a problem in itself (from what I understand, anyway), but gah... I've felt over the course of the past year like something in my chest just didn't feel normal anymore. I think I'm willing to accept that something might be wrong, but I'm dreading the prognosis of 'hey, no hope for you, buddy. You've got a few months, live 'em well." Or... you know.. something like that.
 
I do remember that she also said that it sounded like some kind of regurgitation and that it didn't sound like aortic stenosis or something, but she wants me to get it checked out.  Perfectly reasonable, of course, but my brain zoomed in on 'loud heart murmur', naturally.

My husband and I have been waiting a long time to have kids, wanting circumstances with our physical and mental health to be right, and I'm very worried, on top of just dealing with treatment, that this won't be a possibility, as we've been hoping to do this in the next two years at the most.

Post Edited (RisaA) : 1/24/2012 11:08:48 AM (GMT-7)


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/24/2012 1:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Risa,
 
Gentle hugs to you and I do understand how your feeling.  I did not share all of my hubby's story with you but perhaps it will help you so here goes.
 
My hubby has Crohn's Disease dx when he was 29 and we had 4 children at home.  He has had 4 major surgeries for Crohn's and 1 for Prostate Cancer.  Last spring he was started on Methotrexate. Methotrexate is used to treat certain types of cancer of the breast, skin, head and neck, or lung as well as Crohn's disease and other autoimmune diseases.  He seemed to do well until September when he developed a bilateral pneumonia.  On admit to the ER that day his heart rate was all over the place and his rhythm scared the heck out of me (I am a ER Nurse).
 
He had an echo just to take a look at his heart but the Dr. expected it to be normal.  No one was more shocked then I was to hear the results of his echo - Left Ventricular Cardiomyopathy with an ejection fraction of 35%.  The Drs. questioned whether the Methotrexate caused damage to his heart. We left the hospital with instructions to go home and not worry unless he had sx and to come back in December for a Stress Echo.  The stress test confirmed what was found in September - decrease in Left Ventricle function, mild mitral valve regurgitation and a trace of tricuspid regurgitation.
 
Treatment is "not to worry about it" according to his Cardiologist and PCP.  He takes a BP med everyday and has been encouraged to continue to do any activity he is doing.  He is very active (hunter, wood cutter, works for our daughter and chases our 90 lb. Doberman around). He rides a Harley and does not worry about his heart. 
 
Of course I do enough worrying for both of us so I have to really stop myself and concentrate on all the good things we have going for us.
 
Moral of the story is your echo may be abnormal but  you will still be OK. I have a tendency to catastrophize quickly when I first hear the word "abnormal"  as I have had a lot of major losses over the years as well as being a pretty smart  old nurse.  blush  I have to take a deep breath and tell myself to stop the anticipatory anxiety.  It is not easy and I still get side tracked with thoughts of "what if ?", so I try to take each day one step at a time.
 
I think you have the right to feel anxious and afraid after all this is your heart and to you that is pretty dang scary.  Please know I am here for you and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. 
 
Do feel comfortable to vent away here and posting your thoughts is a good thing.
 
Kindly,
Kitt
 
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

www.healingwell.com

"only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be"

RisaA
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 1/24/2012 2:44 PM (GMT -6)   
You're really awesome, Kitt. I can see why so many here appreciate you.

That really does help to put it in a different (and helpful!) perspective. The heart really is a lot more resilient than some of us give it credit for, eh? Not to say any matters should be taken lightly, but... I guess the murmur you know about is probably less dangerous than the murmur you DON'T know about, yeah?

Talking about this has helped a lot. I'm still waiting to hear from the cardio's office on the appointment (they wanted to talk to my GP first), but I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with the idea of getting this looked at. I'll be sure to come back and post when I have some sort of update... or when my irrational side takes over again and I feel the need to pour my anxiety all over the board. Heh. :)

Thanks, Kitt... and I appreciate you sharing that story. Those are the kinds of experiences I was hoping to see... at least as far as recovery, so to speak, though it's a bummer you and your family had to deal with that to begin with. *Hugs*

Thanks again.

-Risa

Post Edited (RisaA) : 1/24/2012 1:47:28 PM (GMT-7)


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/24/2012 3:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Risa,
 
I am glad that I could help and please know I will be watching for your echo results. 
 
Coming here and sharing my issues always make me feel good as well as it validates my feelings.  I wish you the very best.
 
Gentle Hugs,
Kitt
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

www.healingwell.com

"only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be"

RisaA
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 2/8/2012 8:17 AM (GMT -6)   
So, I've been posting over on the Anxiety/Panic board like crazy, but I thought I'd post a general update over here, as well.

I had the echo done Friday of last week, and while I was SURE that they were going to find something that warranted sending me to the hospital immediately, they didn't. I haven't heard the results yet, but I'm trying to keep myself calm thinking that whatever is wrong with me clearly can't be that bad or they would have called me already.

A little over a week ago, though, I noticed some swelling in my upper arms and a little in my feet. I told my doc about the swelling in the arms (it was all I had noticed when I talked to her), and she said that she didn't hear anything that could indicate heart failure when she detected the murmur initially, so it's likely not that. Plus, my bloodwork all came back pretty normal. I had been taking some Cipro for a UTI when I first noticed the arm swelling, and read that a lot of people had swelling as a side effect, so I thought maybe, but... I don't know.

I left a message with the office today that the swelling is still there and in my feet, so I'm hoping to get a call back (and hopefully with some good news from my echo, as well).
Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, kyphosis, heart murmur (under investigation), hypochondriasis & general anxiety
No meds except the occasional Vicodin or Xanax for pain and anxiety, respectively.
Calcium + D, magnesium citrate, and potassium gluconate

"Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 2/8/2012 10:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Risa,
 
Second try here at trying to post to you and have my puter not play games with me.  eyes
 
Cipro has a history of causing swelling of hands and feet, arms and legs etc.  I would discuss this indepth with your Dr. as the culprit for these sx.  Many physicians don't feel Cipro is the cause of some of these symptoms but it has been documented by  patients taking this medication. Ciprofloxacin belongs to a drug classification known as fluoroquinolones. Another drug in this category is Levaquin which is a potent antibiotic.  If no other cause can be identified for your sx I would strongly suspect that Cipro is your culprit.  JMHO this morning.
 
I hope you hear back from your Dr. soon and as always knowledge is priceless so continue to be your own best advocate. 
 
Try hard not to overthink anything and wait and see what the results and your Dr. has to say. 
 
Thinking of you with kindness,
 
Kitt 
 
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

www.healingwell.com

"only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be"
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