News Center

Monday, September 8, 2008

The sound and potential fury: Heart murmurs explained at free seminar

INDIANAPOLIS – That low whispering inside some human hearts may speak volumes about a person’s health.

At an upcoming “Ask the Doc” program sponsored by the St. Francis Heart Center on Tuesday, Sept. 30, cardiothoracic surgeon Marc Gerdisch, M.D., will explain why it is important to understand how heart valves cause murmurs and when it’s time to seek treatment. Gerdisch is the Medical Director of Cardiac Surgery Associates in Indianapolis.

Valves inside the heart that do not open or close properly cause heart murmurs. People can live with heart murmurs a long time without any symptoms. In fact, the heart can suffer considerable damage from heart valve disease, before symptoms become noticeable. Heart failure may result from longstanding or sudden onset of valve disease.

“A heart murmur does not necessarily signal a problem. Many murmurs are harmless. However, their relationship to the heart valves needs to be understood and frequently, they require follow-up to ensure that heart continues to function normally,” says Gerdisch, director of Cardio-thoracic Surgery at St. Francis Heart Center.

“Imaging the heart with sound waves, allows us to monitor the impact of valve disease on the heart and therefore treat it at the right time,” Gerdisch said. “There has been considerable innovation in heart valve treatment, including our ability to repair valves instead of replace them.”

The free, hour-long program starts at 6:30 p.m. at Greenwood Public Library, 310 S. Meridian St. To register, call 317-782-4422.

To learn more about the services and programs at the St. Francis Heart Center, go to