Heart Murmur

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by xcshrimpy88, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. xcshrimpy88

    xcshrimpy88 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi...I'm a candidate for USMA 2011 and I just took my DoDMERB physical on Thursday. I've had an LOA since August and a nom. since December but had to wait until I turned 18 to go to this exam w/o parental consent.
    At my exam I was surprised to that the doctor heard a soft heart murmur. I have never heard this from my parents or physician, but me made me listen to the stethoscope--it was there. I'm assuming that my parents knew about this and never told me, so unfortunately it's my fault for not marking it on the medical history as I have done this entire process on my own and simply didn't know about it...I feel kind of guilty about that.
    Mostly, though, I'm worried about the gravity of the situation. It's clearly not affected my life, as I didn't even know about it, and SOME doctors must not think it's a big deal as my physician never mentioned it to me, plus my mom's an MD and never said anything EITHER! Nor has she mentioned it on any sports forms or anything. Despite the obvious disregard that those 2 have for the condition, what matters to me is what DODMERB thinks. Is this a waiverable condition or is it "all over" for me now? While I know that, ultimately, I have to sit back and see what USMA/DODMERB does about this, I would like to be prepared for what's to come. (Plus it's really nerve-wracking and I would like a concrete answer about how this could affect my candidacy!!). Thanks in advance.
     
  2. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,771
    Likes Received:
    0
    A little bit of ancient history here. I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever at the age of six and had a resulting heart murmur. When completing my Academy medical, I was subjected to an extra half day of treadmill and other tests before I was declared fit. During my 20 years of annual aviation physical exams, some flight surgeons note it, some didn't. One year, being a particular close friend of the administering flight surgeon, I commented that he had missed my murmer, but was not surprised, since it took a good doctor to find it. He developed a divine calling. Find my murmur. Nothing. Time was no object. He continued. I, sitting on that little examing table, became tired and leaned over, resting my right elbow on my leg. Bingo. Heart murmur.What I had was an echo in my heart chamber evident only while leaning forward and to the right which was my normal resting position on an examing table. Later on as a part of my retirement physical, I mentioned to my doctor the early rheumatic fever diagnosis. They ran me through a long series of tests and determined that I had never had rheumatic fever either. It was probably nothing but "growing pains".

    Good luck on your lone quest. I feel for you. Your parents will eventually come around and be very proud of you. I promise.
     
  3. RetNavyHM

    RetNavyHM USN (RET)

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,273
    Likes Received:
    2
    xcshrimpy88,

    Don't sweat the fact that you didn't mention it on your physical exam, especially if you knew nothing about it. DoDMERB is going to request an echocardiogram (basically an ultrasound of the heart). This is a normal request for everyone with a heart murmur noted on the physical exam. 98% of all echocardiograms come back normal, so if it’s never been mentioned to you in the past, and you've never had any issues with physical activities then my experience is it will be a non-issue. As USNA69 stated, there are many people in the military with murmurs who go on to have complete and fulfilling careers with murmurs, and if its minor it will not hold you back from any career field you desire.

    You should get a letter from DoDMERB within the next 2 weeks requesting the echocardiogram, and if that’s the only thing that DoDMERB is looking for, you should be able to have that completed within a month and be qualified from a medical standpoint.

    Again, if you need any other help, please feel free to let me know, either in the forum or by PM.
     
  4. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,826
    Likes Received:
    2
    I just knew RetNavy would come through for you!

    One of my kids had one "diagnosed" at the age of 12 at a sports physical - he only heard it because he did a residency in pediatric cardiology.
    Her Echo proved it wasn't really a heart murmur and was completely benign.
    That being said this bothers me:
    I applaude you for doing this all on your own and without your parents permission. You are obvioulsy a strong kid of mind and heart.
    Please don't be hard on your folks for this. Don't assume they have hidden this from you. They probably would be as surprised as you. If it makes you feel better have a visit with your physician - at 18 you are a grown up now and you can schedule your own appointments. Have a chat and see what is up. You can also request all your medical records and read them through yourself.
    Good Luck and be good to your parents - they are the only ones you will ever have.
     
  5. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    Indeed Xcountry dude. Know they're a bunch of us cheering you on toward your dream's finish line. Keep your eyes focused ahead, trust your 2nd wind is coming.
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,237
    Likes Received:
    272
    The initial exam I took determined that I had a murmur, but I do not. It was just the doctor hearing the normal sounds a little louder because I am thin.
     
  7. xcshrimpy88

    xcshrimpy88 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    wow...thank you all for your advice. it's really encouraging and helpful.
    also, don't worry, i really do appreciate my parents. their attitudes towards all of this is frustrating, but i try to understand where they're coming from. i was talking more about not having that much use for my mom's medical opinion in this case, since she doesn't have any say in the dodmerb process. assuming that she did know about the murmur, she obviously views it differently than the doctor i went to last week who went into this whole thing about needing antibiotics when i get dental work done, etc. he took it pretty seriously so i just worried about where dodmerb is on that spectrum of opinions. knowing what i do now, i guess that depends on what the heart murmur is like as determined by the echocardiogram?
    who performs the echocardiogram procedure? will i be referred to some kind of specialist? do i need to get it arranged on my own? i'm just a little confused about the logistics...i've never had to schedule doctor's appointments on my own before!! i'm sure i will find out more information from dodmerb but it would be cool to have some idea of what i'm getting into to help plan ahead.
    thank you all SO MUCH for all of this advice!
     
  8. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    Heart murmurs can be a beast: I was dq'd from USAFA because of mine (due to a ventricular septal defect), but have had a fine career in the Navy so far. AF's loss as my entire family is AF except me. Don't get discouraged though, I have a feeling this will not be the case for you.

    An echocardiogram would be read by a cardiologist and would most likely be performed at his/her office. The actual procedure would be performed by a echo technician. It's a simple test, they put cold gel on your chest and then use a 'probe' to look at your heart.

    I wouldn't get too worried yet.

    As to the others who said some doctors heard a murmur others didn't it would most likely be due to a physiologic murmur which is "not a real murmur" to put it simply. Usually heard in thin, athletic types (ie military). Interesting story on the rheumatic fever though USNA
     
  9. RetNavyHM

    RetNavyHM USN (RET)

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,273
    Likes Received:
    2
    xcshrimpy88,

    DoDMERB has recently tried to simplify the process of getting appointments for clinical remedials (clinical remedials being the ones that require an appointment with a physician). The DoD is requiring DoDMERB to pay for all clinical remedials, and Concorde has won that contract, so once you receive the letter from DoDMERB stating that you need an echocardiogram, the number to call for Concorde is listed on that letter, you call and they set up the appointment. Concorde will then submit the echo to DoDMERB. All you need to do is set up the appointment and show up for the appointment.
     
  10. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    kp2001 ... a digression, please?

    Can you tell us a bit about the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences?
     
  11. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    Absolutely, I'll start a new thread in the off topic section so as to not derail this one.
     
  12. patsfan07

    patsfan07 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    kp2001,
    I also have an unclosed VSD with no physical problems. If you do not mind me asking what was your experience with waivers and DoDMERB for this condition?
     
  13. afrotcmom

    afrotcmom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    My son is an AFROTC scholarship recipient. He had his medical exam yesterday and the doc said he heard a heart murmur. Does anyone know if we can start the process of testing (EKG) now, or do we have to wait to hear from DODMERB. Can we use any physician, (At our own expense?) or do we have to use an approved one?? My son is DEVASTATED. He is convinced this will disqualify him from not only the scholarship, but his whole career and future. The AF has been his dream for years..
     
  14. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    3
    Mom! Print out the following response that RetNavyHM gave earlier & give it to your son. Tell him to hang tough, that its not over. He just hit a little rock in the road. Good luck with the next steps!

     
  15. afrotcmom

    afrotcmom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for the encouragement. I will pass that info on to my son. It is helpful to know that there are others out there who have done this before we have, and can shed some light on the subject.
     
  16. RetNavyHM

    RetNavyHM USN (RET)

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,273
    Likes Received:
    2
    Personally I would advise against going and getting the echocardiogram before getting the letter from DoDMERB. You have a ton of time before August, and since you can get the echocardiogram (which is much different than an EKG) done for free through Concorde, why not? Also, if Concorde does not do the exam to DoDMERB's specifications they will repeat it, again, at no cost to you.

    Just be patient, let the process work its way through. Your son should get a letter from DoDMERB in the next month, it'll take 2 weeks to get the echocardiogram done through Concorde, and another 3 weeks for DoDMERB to review it and clear your son (I am ever the eternal optimist, much to my wife's dismay!). So by the end of April your son should have everything complete.
     
  17. afrotcmom

    afrotcmom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, We went ahead and had the echo done without waiting to hear from DODMERB. The initial exam with our local doc (We live in a small community) showed an EKG to be normal, and faint sounds when he was sitting and standing, nothing heard while lying down or holding his breath. The echo was done at our local hospital and the results sent on to a larger clinic/cardiologist. We received a phone call today saying he has a "Flow murmur", but no valve problems. His heart pumping function was a little low (50-55 with 60 being normal). The nurse I spoke to said everything seems good and not to worry. I explained the reason for doing this test and she said the cardiologist will want to follow up and do another echo in 3months probably before she will clear him to DODMERB. ARRGGHH. Is this really an issue with the "flow murmur"? Does anyone know??? :confused:
     
  18. RetNavyHM

    RetNavyHM USN (RET)

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,273
    Likes Received:
    2
    afrotcmom,

    Like I posted before, the majority of murmurs are benign and are of no concern. It really depends on the severity of the flow murmur, and I don't know enough about how the reports are read to give you an idea. Your best bet would be to get a copy of the report and mail it to DoDMERB. That’s really the only way you are going to know if it’s going to be an issue or not. It’s not up to your son's cardiologist to clear him for DoDMERB, it’s up to the physicians at DoDMERB.
     
  19. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    I apologize for such the long delay in response. I hadn't really been keeping up with this thread.

    A little med background on me. I was born with a VSD, ventricular septal defect and at the time was apparently somewhat close to needing surgery to close the hole. I ended up not having surgery (thankfully) and instead was followed by a pediatric cardiologist on regular intervals which spread out to once every five years by the time I can remember, well before my teens. This condition had no effect on me whatsoever, except for not being allowed to eat raw seafood and needing antibiotic prophylaxis before going to the dentist or any surgical procedures.

    I played several sports competitively throughout my years including eventual playing soccer at Kings Point. This is how little this problem had an effect on me.

    When applying through DODMERB I of course was DQ'd and needed waivers. Eventually the final result came out to Air Force Academy disqualified me and the Navy accepted me. As HM has stated before the different Academies have a final say in what they will waiver. I have since gone on and graduated from Kings Point and am now on active duty in the Navy.

    As to the waivers, I was lucky and had a huge help from my father who was very proactive in tracking things down and getting stuff submitted. I don't remember too much, other than it being a big hassle to get everything taken care of and then being dissapointed when I was DQ'd from the AFA. The AFA had been my dream (even written in my baby book when I was seven I think) as my entire family is Air Force except for me and one cousin.

    Even though AFA was my dream when I actually went to visit the different schools I actually changed my mind to Kings Point prior to the final DQ came through from the AF and have been extremely happy with my choice ever since. Sometimes god works in funny ways and this was just one of those in my case.

    Hope this helps shed some light on my particular case with DODMERB, everybody's is different and no two people are the same. Best of luck!
     
  20. afrotcmom

    afrotcmom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Woo Hoo! My son received his qualification letter from DoDMERB last week! We are all very relieved and happy for him. He is SO ready to start his AFROTC college years and pepare for his career in the USAF! Thanks for all your encouragement!
     

Share This Page