Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Are heart murmurs a type of congenital heart disease?"
No one else in our family has them. I am a 22 year old male and I want to know where they came from.
Congenital heart disease refers to an abnormality of the heat that you are born with (as opposed to acquired heart disease, which develops over the course of your life time). It is true that many times congenital heart disease is picked up by hearing a heart murmur, which is an extra heart sound that your doctor may hear when listening to you with their stethoscope. It sounds like you are saying that your doctor has recently detected a heart murmur. Most heart murmurs in someone your age end up being benign (meaning they are not because of a heart defect). However your doctor may want to verify that nothing serious is going on by ordering an echocardiogram. This is a specialized ultrasound of the heart that is very easy to perform and just involves placing an ultrasound probe on the surface of the chest. This ultrasound will allow your doctor to look for any problems with the heart, such as holes in the heart or problems with the heart valves. Depending on what is found in the echocardiogram, your doctor may want to refer you to a cardiologist. However, if nothing is found, then they will probably just observe the murmur closely over the coming years.
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