The Cabot-Locke murmur is an early diastolic murmur found in patients with severe anaemia. Unlike the early diastolic murmur associated with aortic regurgitation, the Cabot-Locke murmur has no associated ‘decrescendo’ phase.

The murmur resolves with treatment of the anaemia. There is no functional valvular abnormality present.

Note: The description of the Cabot-Locke murmur was based on a study sample of three patients

In cases of intense anaemia, when the red cells are reduced to or below 1,000,000 per cu. mm, one occasionally hears diastolic murmurs not to be explained by permanent dilatation of the aortic ring nor as “cardio-respiratory murmurs”, and not due to a diastolic accentuation of a venous hum. The cause of these murmurs is obscure

Cabot R, Locke E. 1903: 120

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Cite this article as: Andrew Robbins and Mike Cadogan, "Cabot-Locke murmur," In: LITFL - Life in the FastLane, Accessed on March 26, 2023,


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