How does my doctor diagnose a heart murmur?
Usually, your doctor will find a murmur during a regular exam. When listening to your heart with a stethoscope, your doctor may hear a swishing or "whooshing" sound. This sound is called a murmur.
If your doctor suspects a heart problem is causing your murmur or your child’s murmur, he or she may choose to do some testing or refer you to a cardiologist. This is a kind of doctor who has spent extra time learning about hearts. The cardiologist might do tests to find out if there is a problem. These tests include chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) or echocardiogram (sometimes called an "echo").
Heart Murmurs in Pedatric Patients: When Do You Refer? by ME McConnell, M.D., SB Adkins III, M.D., and DW. Hannon, M.D. (American Family Physician August 01, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/990800ap/558.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff