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HealthInfo Canterbury

Heart murmurs & heart valve problems in adults

Heart murmurIf you have a heart murmur, it means that your doctor has heard an extra sound when listening to your heart with a stethoscope.

Heart murmurs are very common. Possible causes range from minor blood flow changes to severe heart valve problems, which can affect the normal functioning of the heart. There are different grades or types of heart murmur. The tests and treatment of a murmur depend on the type and grade. Small murmurs usually don't need any tests or treatment.

For more information, see National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (USA) – What is a heart murmur

Heart valve problems

Symptoms of a heart valve problem might include shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, or heart failure. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should arrange an appointment with your GP. Your doctor will listen closely to your heart and check your pulse and blood pressure. Other tests may include:

Some people will be eligible to have the above tests paid for by the public health system, however there may be a wait.

If you prefer, or would like to have these tests sooner, you can pay to see a private heart specialist. You can find one through these searches:

You may need to be referred to the Cardiology Department at the hospital for further investigations.

What can I do?

If you have a heart valve problem, there are actions you can take to manage your health:

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2018.

Page reference: 47798

Review key: HIHMV-28309