Heart murmurs may be caused by a number of factors or diseases, including:
Defective heart valves
Holes in the walls of your heart (atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect)
Pregnancy (increased blood volume)
Anemia (a decrease in the red cells in the blood)
All murmurs are analyzed for pitch, frequency, and duration. They are also graded according to how loud they are (on a scale of 1 to 6 with 1 being very faint and 6 being very loud).
Types of murmurs include:
Systolic murmur. This occurs during a heart muscle contraction. Systolic murmurs are divided into ejection murmurs (due to blood flow through a narrowed vessel or irregular valve) and regurgitant murmurs (backward blood flow into one of the chambers of the heart).
Diastolic murmur. This occurs during heart muscle relaxation between beats. Diastolic murmurs are due to a narrowing (stenosis) of the mitral or tricuspid valves, or regurgitation of the aortic or pulmonary valves.
Continuous murmur. This occurs throughout the cardiac cycle.
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MGH Hotline 2.18.11 Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the MGH Heart Center and Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program brought attention to hearts everywhere by celebrating “Go Red for Women” month with a series of events and activities to raise awareness of heart disease in women.