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Heart murmur, found in echocardiogram - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Excellent Posted in: Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1358 Questions
User :   10 years ago a doctor told me I had a heart murmur, I went to the cardiologist and he couldn't find it on the echocardiogram (I live in CA).... I'm a 46 year old female in excellent health (runner/triathlete), and ended up in the ER in Colorado from a fainting spell (at zero degrees), and the ER doctor tells me I have a murmur and need an echocardiogram....How can this be so??? Do murmurs come and go?? Could the altitude/cold air have brought it out??
Doctor :   hi
Doctor :   Doctor :   let me read ur query
Doctor :   Usually murmurs are 100% detectable via and echo
Doctor :   i guess that there was some error in the first echo
Doctor :   Are u there ?
User :   I don't understand why the cardiologist didn't find it then (10 years ago)...yes, I'm here
User :   Since I have not had any problems and I run marathons and exert myself to no end, why would my regular doctors not detect it, but an ER doctor in Colorado does?
Doctor :   there might have been a mistake at that point of time
Doctor :   usually most murmurs are incidental
Doctor :   and some may not be of any value at all
Doctor :   hence some doctors do not actively look for it
User :   Will altitude affect it more? Since I do not have a good healthcare plan and I have to pay out of pocket, I can't afford a lot of tests. I am wondering if I should see a cardiologist in Colorado as opposed to CA then
Doctor :   but if some one has looking in, and has found some murmur, he would be interested to find out the reason
Doctor :   do u have any symptoms as of now
Doctor :   are u physiically fit ?
User :   No, no symptoms whatsoever, and I started running again when I returned home. I do not experience irregular heartbeat. I am very physically fit (athlete), but I'm not certain what my resting hr is....MY hr was 40 when they brought me in and 60 when I left the ER
Doctor :   there are many murmurs which can change with altitude as this is due to difficulty breathing at high altitude which can make some murmurs come up
User :   I was extremely cold in Denver and my right hand was frozen and numb. It hurt so bad I was trying to get to a warm building, that's when I started feeling nausea and very dizzy so I went into a rite aid pharmacy for help
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :   i guess if you are not symptomatic , then you can wait for 6 more months before you go for an echo
User :   I guess if I am going to pay over $700 for this test, I might as well have it done in Colorado (as I am moving there). CA is probably more expensive on these anyway...but that is a different matter. Thank you for your insight.
Doctor :   most physccally active intividials have a slightly enlarged heart as a mechanism of improved cardiac fitness
Doctor :   and this is a normal change and nothing to be worried about
Doctor :   sometimes such a physiological heart changes can present as a heart murmur and most probably can be ignored
Doctor :   you can do the test anywhere
User :   Yes, I have learned that from professional athlete friends here. I suspect that the dizziness had nothing to do with the murmur (that was just there), but maybe dehydration and pain
Doctor :   in some parts of the world the test may cost less than 25 USD
User :   Ok, I will research a cardiologist and have it done. Thank you.
Doctor :   YOU ARE welcome
Doctor :   i hope i have answered your query
User :   Yes, I told my kids since they are grown now, even if I did keel over I know they are old enough to take care of themselves :-)) Have a great week
Doctor :   take care
Doctor :   bye for now
User :   Thanks
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