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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Heart murmurs & heart valve problems in adults

If you have a heart murmur, it means 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 your heart.

The tests and treatment of a murmur depend on how severe it is. Some murmurs do not need any tests or treatment.

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 but you might have to 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 Healthpoint.

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

Self-care for heart valve problems

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

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2021.

Page reference: 47798

Review key: HIHMV-28309