Table 8.2 Summary: Interpretation of findings at pre-purchase examinations

Murmur detected

Functional heart murmur

(Early-mid systolic ejection-type with PMI over the left base, early diastolic high-pitched murmurs and pre-systolic murmurs, variable intensity at different heart rates.) No bearing on future use

MR, quiet and localised

Unlikely to be relevant in the near future but may deteriorate over future months or years.

Consider follow-up examination or purchase on approval, if vendors/purchasers allow

MR, grade 3 or greater or widespread

Advise against purchase for athletic use unless echocardiogram shows no volume overload. If echocardiogram satisfactory consider potential rate of deterioration

AR any grade, normal pulse quality

Echocardiogram is helpful before an accurate prognosis can be given

AR, bounding pulse quality

Advise against purchase

TR, fit National Hunt horse

Echocardiography advisable, but many perform well

TR, other types of horse

Best evaluated echocardiographically if intended for athletic use


Not suitable for breeding, not suitable for athletic use unless restrictive size, normal RV volume, and normal IVS motion detected on echocardiography. Unlikely to be suitable for top flight performance

Arrhythmia detected

Arrhythmia diagnosed as AVB or other vagally mediated arrhythmia

No bearing on future use

Post-exercise arrhythmia, identified as vagally mediated or cyclical

Increase level of exercise and re-examine, or perform ECG if possible

No bearing on future use

Occasional APCs or VPCs

Exercise ECG and 24-hour recording and echocardiography recommended if intended for athletic use

Frequent APCs or VPCs

Not suitable until problem identified and corrected

AF, no evidence of underlying heart disease

Not suitable for athletic use, may be suitable for low intensity work

AF, evidence of underlying heart disease

Not suitable for ridden exercise, unlikely to be suitable for breeding