Heart murmur

Discussion in 'Professionally Qualified, RAMC and QARANC' started by Phillip-Kotler, Nov 15, 2006.

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  1. Here is a guy who's happy 'cos he's off to Pirbright. He says that 15 people were deferred because of heart murmurs.

    You never used to hear much about this sort of stuff, but nowadays they're picked up all over the place at RTMC and in the recruiting process. Is this something that we were missing in the past, or are the examining MOs just playing it ultra-safe?
  2. Yes ultra safe.

    Compensation culture and all that good stuff :roll:
  3. Nothing new, before I joined up 'way back' in 1979 the MO found a heart murmur and I was refered to a specialist in RAF Hospital Wroughton. He gave it the okay as 'just a flow murmur' and I carried on regardless.

    Are they being deferred without further investigation, or after being investigated?
  4. I was diagnosed with a heart murmur way back in the mists of time, cue loads of test's at Haslar etc. Eventually pronounced 'unlikely to drop dead at the drop of a hat' and sent off to receive said Kings shilling.

    Now, anyone who knows me will know I never was a racing snake but have managed to reach 40+ doing most things I needed to without any ill effects.
    BUT, if they are erring on the side of caution, I am sure the guys relatives would prefer him being deferred for a couple of months to having 'little tommy' dropping dead on first BFT.
  5. I suspect it's a mixture of "ultra-safe" and the increasing sub-specialisation in medicine. 10 years ago, the average GP / MO could probably tell the difference between a flow murmur, and one that reflected valve disease.

    Maybe I'm wrong (I have a rather dim view of the newer GPs), but I suspect now all they can tell is the abnormal fomr the normal...

    /me: Tin hat on, awaiting incoming.

  6. I was told by a doctor that most people have harmless flow murmurs (including myself), just peoples are louder than others. Better to be safe than sorry though and get checked out properly.
  7. I'm not sure "most" is correct, but, otherwise, I can't fault the logic. Hence the number of people not passing medicals, and this thread.

  8. I get a heart murmour everytime this little nurse wiggles by my office.......no that should be............ :twisted:
  9. Ohhhh you little devil! I can't see anything sexy about a nurse uniform though??
  10. I would say thats fairly accurate, ten guys on my recruit selection were deffered (including me!) for heart murmur. They refer you to a specialist cardiologist to give you the once over. Also I think that they are being 'ultra safe', as the professor who did my final check said that the murmur was so faint that they could have let it go. But they didn't and I missed my first intake date!!!!

    Cheers Easy!
  11. Always have done these sort of checks with referals for ECG and echocardiogram. Possibly more frequent now with the advent of electronic stethoscopes which provide amplification and could well be picking up previously missed murmers. We used to run clinics several times a week in the late eighties with half a dozen referals at a time and that was only at one military hospital and there were other clinics going on at the other UK based BMH's.
  12. Absolutely right!

    My own experience was very sobering, although we are going back over a quarter of a century, and diagnostic technology etc has come on leaps & bounds, and gone "mainstream", since then, so I expect/ hope that more heart murmurs are picked up, and investigated more thoroughly than seems to have been the case "in my day"!

    To cut a long story short, I now have a 10" scar down the centre of my chest, and an artificial aortic valve (tick, tock, tick..), as reminders of the fact that I had a significantly malformed aortic valve that no-one seems to have noticed prior to my joining the Army. Suffice to say that my (civilian) cardiologist was flabbergasted that I'd ever been accepted for military training; although, to be fair, I had always been totally asymptomatic, and was outwardly very active/ fit.

    Have never followed this up, and certainly have no interest in making any claims against anyone: life's too short; have been very fortunate, in the main, in mine, and am very grateful to have had £20k+ of heart surgery at the hands of one of the best "valve men" in the world at no additional cost to myself - well done NHS!

    My theory re what happened in my case is that when presented with a fit young RCB pass who wanted to be an SSC infantry officer (at a time when there was significant shortfall of such specimens) the system chose to "overlook" the odd murmur & process me in because it was reckoned that such an anomoly was unlikely to cause any problems during the next few years, and "warm bodies" of a certain type were badly needed at the time. If things went "pear shaped", well, this was a long time before the "compensation culture" really kicked-in, and there was always Crown Immunity to fall back on.

    If this was the case, can't say I blame the system really - from today's perspective, it seems like gross negligence/ lack of care, but at least they gave me a chance; had I been rejected on medical grounds, I'd certainly have been very angry/ bitter at the time! Traumatic & disappointing though my experience of RMAS turned out, am still glad to have spent a short time there - learned a hell of a lot that has been of great benefit subsequently.

    That said, I was lucky not to die in training (and some have - from similar conditions to mine), so I'd say that any heart murmur should be fully investigated by a qualified cardiologist before commencement of training. Re "flow murmurs" - a bit of doctorly bullshit, IMO, because most heart murmurs could be said to be such - ie interruption of normal bloodflow - and, in my experience, is often used by generalist physicians to avoid admitting that they don't really know exactly what's going on. So, don't be fobbed off - insist on specialist investigation, because if you're like me, that "innocent murmur" could just prove life threatening when you're doing busting your guts in the gym, doing battle PT, or tabbing under a 50lb load!