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Glossary of Terms

Heart Murmur

An abnormal sound heard in the heart. A murmur results from blood flowing over or through an irregular surface. Murmurs can be classified in different ways, and different heart conditions have characteristic murmurs or sounds. Not all murmurs are associated with a condition that requires surgery, but a murmur can be used to follow any changes in a heart condition. A non-medical analogy of a heart murmur would be water flowing down a smooth stream. There would be no sound of the flow of water if the stream were perfectly smooth. However, if an irregular surface, such as a stone, is placed in the stream, the water flowing around the irregular surface would cause a sound (a babbling brook). Examples of heart conditions that cause murmurs would be mitral valve prolapse, aortic stenosis, and mitral valve stenosis.

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