Have you been in a situation where you are the first to detect a cardiac murmur in a patient? If you are hearing it in a busy, loud Emergency Department, I find that it's at least a grade III.
Should you order an echocardiogram for further outpatient evaluation? It depends on the grade and characteristic of the murmur, in addition to the patient's symptoms. For instance, all diastolic murmurs require an echo. There is a useful ACC/AHA algorithm which helps you decide.
Thanks to Amy Kinard, an Emergency RN and aspiring Family Nurse Practitioner, for drafting this useful Paucis Verbis card for me during her studies. Keep the great ideas coming, everyone!
Feel free to download this card and print on a 4'' x 6'' index card.
Bonow, R., Carabello, B., Chatterjee, K., et al. (2008). 2008 Focused Update Incorporated Into the ACC/AHA 2006 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Valvular Heart Disease: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Circulation, 118 (15) DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.108.190748