How will a heart murmur affect my exercise and long distance running?
Hi, recently I went to the GP for consultation on flu. During routine checkup, it was found that I have a heart murmur. Subsequently, I was referred to do 12-lead ECG and TTE. Both ECG and TTE shows normal results. How will this affect my future exercise? Will the heart murmur cause any impact if I were to continue long distance running? Thank you :)
Dear Mrs T
Thank you for the question and I can understand your concerns.
Firstly, its great that your investigations are normal - this is very reassuring in many aspects.
Secondly your GP has done the right thing by getting the investigations done - great job!
Murmurs in themselves may not be significant provided you are not having concurrent symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Palpitations or collapse etc.
If you are fit and well, exercising regularly and have no other cardiac or family risk factors, then you can develop a murmur from changes in keeping with an athletic heart.
In terms of your exercising in the future, it would be unusual if a murmur alone caused significant problems without other symptoms or cardiac pathologies.
If you are worried, it might be worth considering a Pre-participation Screening (PPS) which provides a wholistic assessment of you as an individual - this is useful even if you have been exercising for some time.
As Dr Nandakumar mentions, an Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT) is definitely worth considering - or a more thorough assessment can be obtained with a Cardio-Pulmonary Exercise Test (CPET).
If you are interested in PPS or other aspects of sport, perhaps I can direct you to the upcoming Sports Medicine Association of Singapore, Annual Symposium.
Good luck with your running and keep fit!
Dear Mrs T
An incidental murmur, with no cause found either from the heart or otherwise would have no long term impact, but you may want to confirm that this is so with your physician.
If necessary, a treadmill test can be useful for your reassurance, but is not required if you are otherwise fit, well and active with no symptoms.