The human heart, which is the most important organ in the body and also the center of the circulatory system, has two states - the systole and the diastole, while pumping blood throughout the body. During the diastole, which is the relaxation state, blood fills the ventricles of the heart and during systole or the contraction state, the auricles contract and push the blood out of the heart into the arteries to be transported to the rest of the body. Let's take a look at the causes, indications and treatment options for systolic murmur.
Blood circulation is normally a smooth process, but at times certain sounds can be heard accompanying the heartbeat. Heart murmur can occur during a diastole as well as a systole. A systolic heart murmur is a vibration that occurs at a variable duration and can be heard with the help of a stethoscope. This murmur can be heard at the beginning of the first heartbeat and ends after the sound of the second heartbeat. These noises are a result of disordered flow of blood through the ventricles. One of the common systolic murmur causes is the turbulent flow of blood during the contraction of the ventricles. Though this condition is quite harmless and may reduce after a passage of time, there are also some abnormal murmurs, which may require medical attention.
Causes of Systolic Murmur
Systolic murmur is often referred to as functional or innocent heart murmurs and is caused when the blood rushes through the ventricles. However there are a few abnormal causes, which are listed as below:
- Congenital heart defects like malformation of the arteries, valves and the septae
- Abnormalities in the valves like valve sclerosis, valve stenosis (the narrowing or stiffening of the heart)
- Endocarditis or the inflammation of the inner lining of the heart
- Leaking of the mitral valve, which is also known as valve prolapse
- Holes in the septum (the walls that separate the chambers of the heart)
- An overactive thyroid gland can lead to a condition called thyrotoxicosis, which produces murmurs.
- Rheumatic fever is also one of the known causes of vibrating sounds produced by the heart.
- Sometimes pregnant women may also experience murmurs, due to a drop in blood pressure, which resolves itself after childbirth.
Systolic Murmur Symptoms
Some individuals having murmurs do not necessarily have symptoms of a heart disease. The signs and symptoms depends on the cause and severity of the murmur. Given below are some of the signs that may help in detecting the presence of this disorder:
- Nausea and dizziness followed by fainting spells
- Unexplained fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain, also known as angina
- Excessive sweating
- Discoloration or bluish coloring of the skin, especially inside the mouth and on the fingertips.
- Rapid and irregular heartbeats, which is also known as arrhythmia in medical parlance
- Swelling of the extremities due to water retention (edema)
- Abnormal growth and poor eating habits as seen in heart murmur in infants
Treating Systolic Heart Murmur
Systolic murmur signifies the slight tightening of the heart valve and indicates that the flow of blood through the heart is not smooth. To diagnose the condition, the doctor may evaluate the medical history of the patient and advice him to undergo a physical exam to assess the exact condition. The patient may also have to undergo heart evaluation to assess the rhythm and rate of the heartbeats. If a murmur sound is heard, the doctor will try to determine the location of the sound.
Prior to treatment, the patient will have to undergo initial tests like a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG) and an ultrasound (echocardiogram) in order to evaluate the overall condition of the heart. Another procedure is the cardiac catheterization, which is an invasive test and involves the injection of a dye into the blood to evaluate the status of the heart structures. The treatment depends on the underlying causes of systolic murmur and the medical condition of the patient. Systolic heart murmurs caused due to an infected valve can be treated with the help of antibiotics that will reduce the infection. In case of severe damage to the valves which are irreparable, then the patient may have to undergo surgery to replace the damaged valve.
These were some of the systolic murmur causes. Keep a check on your lifestyle and visit your physician for a regular monitoring of the heart to ensure that infections and other serious heart diseases are kept at bay. Take care!