Harvard Men's Health Watch

Should I worry about a heart murmur?

Ask the doctor

Q. I had a heart murmur when I was younger, but it went away. Now it's back. Should I be concerned?

A. Heart murmurs are sounds detected as blood flows through the heart's chambers and valves. There are three main causes of heart murmurs in adults: increased volume or speed of blood flowing through a normal heart, a stiff heart valve, or a leaky heart valve.

Heart murmurs in young people are often the first type of murmur—a "flow murmur" in which the chambers and valves are normal, but the blood flow still makes an audible sound. These murmurs can become louder with a faster heart rate, a fever, or anemia. They are common in childhood, but can still occur in some adults. The good news: they do not lead to any future heart problems.

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