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Heart Murmur Treatment

An innocent murmur does not require any treatment. An abnormal murmur does not always require treatment. Treatment is only necessary if a heart condition is causing the murmur.

Lifestyle

Depending upon the cause of your heart murmur, your doctor may suggest one or more of the following lifestyle changes: exercising, reducing salt intake, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking or losing weight.

Medications

In some cases, medications may be necessary to alleviate symptoms or manage an underlying condition that is causing your heart murmur. These are prescribed to:

  • lower your cholesterol (e.g., statins)
  • reduce fluids and salt (e.g., diuretics)
  • prevent blood clots (e.g., aspirin or anticoagulants)
  • lower your heart rate and blood pressure (e.g., ACE inhibitors, Beta blockers)

Procedures, Devices & Surgery

If medications don't help, surgeons can aggressively treat underlying problems of heart murmurs. Some examples of surgeries include:

  • Balloon valvuloplasty is used to treat narrowed or stiff (stenotic) heart valves. During this procedure a cathether (long, thin, flexible tube) is directed through a vein in the groin to the heart valve that needs to be opened. A large balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to open the valve. The balloon is then deflated and removed.
     
  • Heart Valve Repair may be an option for some patients. This is more common with the mitral valve and can be done through minimally invasive, robotically guided procedures that decrease complications while allowing for a quicker recovery.
     
  • Heart Valve Replacement for stenosis is performed using either a bioprosthetic (tissue) heart valve that is made from natural sources (e.g., pig, cow or human) or a mechanical heart valve. The advantage to a bioprosthetic valve is that it does not contain metal and therefore blood thinners are not needed long term. Mechanical valves contain substances that are more likely to form blood clots and require the use of blood thinners. The advantage, however, is that they last for many years.
     
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) uses a catheter to replace the aortic valve in select patients with severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening) who can’t tolerate, or are high-risk candidates for, open heart surgery.
     
  • Annuloplasty is an option if the base of a mitral or tricuspid valve becomes enlarged, dilated, or damaged. This procedure is performed to strengthen the ring of tissue (called the annulus) by sewing in an O- or C-shaped annuloplasty ring at the valve base.