Your heartbeat is the sound of your heart valves closing. If there is a problem with your valves, blood may flow abnormally through or around them, causing a whooshing or swishing sound between or after heartbeats. Your doctor can hear this turbulent blood flow using a stethoscope.
The most common causes are:
Anemia, or not having enough red blood cells
Hyperthyroidism, a thyroid disorder in which the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or a thickening of the heart muscle
Valve stenosis, a stiff valve that limits the forward flow of blood
Valve regurgitation, a backward flow of blood because a heart valve doesn’t close completely
Diagnosing a potential heart or vascular condition is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Your doctor will likely use diagnostic imaging techniques such as an echocardiogram or a heart CT scan. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.
Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.
If there is no underlying condition causing your heart murmur, you may not require treatment, but if you do require treatment, our heart and vascular teams work with other specialties to develop and implement individualized plans to treat you. This could include medication or more advanced surgical treatments.
Balloon valvuloplasty improves blood flow through the heart to the lungs and body by opening a stiff heart valve.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive option to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly and blocks the flow of blood.
Valve sparing surgery is a procedure to repair an aortic root aneurysm without replacing the aortic valve.
Have questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net.