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A general theory of the causes of murmurs in the cardiovascular system

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      Abstract

      It is suggested that the classic theory that murmurs are due to turbulence in flowing blood is unlikely to be correct, as is another theory that they may be due to cavitation. A new theory concerning the cause of murmurs is offered. The postulates of the theory are:
      • 1.
        1. The bulk of the acoustical energy in murmurs is due to nearly periodic fluctuations in the wake found downstream of any appropriate obstacle and the characteristics of this type of flow are similar to those associated with Aeolian tones or orifice flow.
      • 2.
        2. The vast majority of murmurs are due to protuberances of minor to moderate size, to wall discontinuities of the heart, its valves and the larger vessels. These murmurs are greatly intensified by relatively small increases in the velocity of flowing blood.
      • 3.
        3. The position of listening as it relates to a column of moving blood modifies the perceived frequencies to a remarkable degree.
      • 4.
        4. Application of this theory to the known diverse characteristics of murmurs lends a unity to the understanding of their peculiarities.
      • 5.
        5. The behavior of blood flowing around and beyond any obstacle capable of generating a murmur is faithfully represented by the acoustical characteristics of the murmur so produced.
      • 6.
        6. Knowledge of the forces involved in nearly periodic wake fluctuations allows more complete understanding of the stresses that may lead to degeneration of cardiovascular structures.
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