Low-grade systolic murmurs in healthy middle-aged individuals: innocent or clinically significant? A 35-year follow-up study of 2014 Norwegian men.
J Intern Med. 2012 Jun;271(6):581-8
Authors: Bodegard J, Skretteberg PT, Gjesdal K, Pyörälä K, Kjeldsen SE, Liestøl K, Erikssen G, Erikssen J
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a low-grade systolic murmur, found at heart auscultation, in middle-aged healthy men influences the long-term risk of aortic valve replacement (AVR) and death from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Setting and subjects.? During 1972-1975, 2014 apparently healthy men aged 40-59?years underwent an examination programme including case history, clinical examination, blood tests and a symptom-limited exercise ECG test. Heart auscultation was performed under standardized conditions, and murmurs were graded on a scale from I to VI. No men were found to have grade V/VI murmurs. Participants were followed for up to 35?years.
RESULTS: A total of 1541 men had no systolic murmur; 441 had low-grade murmurs (grade I/II) and 32 had moderate-grade murmurs (grade III/IV). Men with low-grade murmurs had a 4.7-fold [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1-11.1] increased age-adjusted risk of AVR, but no increase in risk of CVD death. Men with moderate-grade murmurs had an 89.3-fold (95% CI 39.2-211.2) age-adjusted risk of AVR and a 1.5-fold (95% CI 0.8-2.5) age-adjusted increased risk of CVD death.
CONCLUSIONS: Low-grade systolic murmur was detected at heart auscultation in 21.9% of apparently healthy middle-aged men. Men with low-grade murmur had an increased risk of AVR, but no increase in risk of CVD death. Only 1.6% of men had moderate-grade murmur; these men had a very high risk of AVR and a 1.5-fold albeit non-significant increase in risk of CVD death.
PMID: 22061296 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]