Heart sounds are the noises generated by the beating heart and the resultant flow of blood through it. Specifically, the sounds reflect the turbulence created when the heart valves snap shut. In cardiac auscultation, an examiner may use a stethoscope to listen for these unique and distinct sounds that provide important auditory data regarding the condition of the heart.
In healthy adults, there are two normal heart sounds, often described as a lub and a dub (or dup), that occur in sequence with each heartbeat. These are the first heart sound (S1) and second heart sound (S2), produced by the closing of the atrioventricular valvesand semilunar valves, respectively. In addition to these normal sounds, a variety of other sounds may be present including heart murmurs, adventitious sounds, and gallop rhythms S3 and S4.
Heart murmurs are generated by turbulent flow of blood and a murmur to be heard as turbulent flow must require pressure difference of at least 30 mm of hg between the chambers and the pressure dominant chamber will out flow the blood to non dominant chamber in diseased condition which leads to Left-to-right shunt or Right-to-left shunt based on the pressure dominance. Turbulent may occur inside or outside the heart if its outside heart its called Bruit. Murmurs may be physiological (benign) or pathological (abnormal). Abnormal murmurs can be caused by stenosis restricting the opening of a heart valve, resulting in turbulence as blood flows through it. Abnormal murmurs may also occur with valvular insufficiency (regurgitation), which allows backflow of blood when the incompetent valve closes with only partial effectiveness. Different murmurs are audible in different parts of the cardiac cycle, depending on the cause of the murmur.
Primary heart sounds
Normal heart sounds are associated with heart valves closing:
The first heart sound, or S1, forms the “lub” of “lub-dub” and is composed of components M1 (mitral valve closure) and T1 (tricuspid valve closure). Normally M1 precedes T1 slightly. It is caused by the closure of the atrioventricular valves, i.e. tricuspidand mitral (bicuspid), at the beginning of ventricular contraction, or systole. When the ventricles begin to contract, so do the papillary muscles in each ventricle. The papillary muscles are attached to the cusps or leaflets of the tricuspid and mitral valves via chordae tendineae (heart strings). When the papillary muscles contract, the chordae tendineae become tense and thereby prevent the backflow of blood into the lower pressure environment of the atria. The chordae tendineae act a bit like the strings on a parachute, and allow the leaflets of the valve to balloon up into the atria slightly, but not so much as to evert the cusp edges and allow back flow of blood. It is the pressure created from ventricular contraction that closes the valve, not the papillary muscles themselves. The contraction of the ventricle begins just prior to AV valves closing and prior to the semilunar valves opening. The sudden tensing of the chordae tendineae and the squeezing of the ventricles against closed semilunar valves, sends blood rushing back toward the atria, and the parachute-like valves catch the rush of blood in their leaflets causing the valve to snap shut. The S1 sound results from reverberation within the blood associated with the sudden block of flow reversal by the valves. The delay of T1 even more than normally causes the split S1 which is heard in a right bundle branch blockage.
The second heart sound, or S2, forms the “dub” of “lub-dub” and is composed of components A2 (aortic valve closure) and P2 (pulmonary valve closure). Normally A2 precedes P2 especially during inspiration where a split of S2 can be heard. It is caused by the closure of the semilunar valves (the aortic valve and pulmonary valve) at the end of ventricular systole and the beginning of ventricular diastole. As the left ventricle empties, its pressure falls below the pressure in the aorta. Aortic blood flow quickly reverses back toward the left ventricle, catching the pocket-like cusps of the aortic valve, and is stopped by aortic valve closure. Similarly, as the pressure in the right ventricle falls below the pressure in the pulmonary artery, the pulmonary valve closes. The S2sound results from reverberation within the blood associated with the sudden block of flow reversal.
Splitting of S2, also known as physiological split, normally occurs during inhalation because the decrease in intrathoracic pressure increases the time needed for pulmonary pressure to exceed that of the right ventricular pressure. A widely split S2 can be associated with several different cardiovascular conditions, including left bundle branch block, pulmonary stenosis, and atrial septal defect.