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Cardiomegaly

means larger heart size or thicker than normal.

Causes/Risk Factors
  •  
  • Hypertension
  • Heart valve disease
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Pericardial effusion
  • Anemia
  • Abnormal thyroid
  • Hemochromatosis (iron overload)
  • Cardiomegaly might occur due to viral infection around the heart, kidney disease that requires dialysis, the use of alcohol or drugs, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), or genetic diseases or to pregnant people who are close to giving birth.
Cardiomegaly does not usually present with any symptoms, but without treatment can lead to symptoms of heart failure. Some patients may have mild symptoms for many years and some may have acute and severe symptoms. Possible symptoms include:
  • Fast breathing, wheezing
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness, fatigue, weakness
  • Weight gain
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Unable to lie prone due to chest discomfort
  • Coughing, especially when sleeping
When cardiomegaly is diagnosed early, it is easier to treat, so if you experience any of the symptoms above, please see your doctor as soon as possible.
 
Initially the doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms and then perform a physical exam. Other tests may include:
  1. Medications:
  • If cardiomegaly is caused by the heart valve, surgery may be needed to repair or replace it.
  • Bypass surgery may be necessary if cardiomegaly is caused by narrowed blood vessels.
  • Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) may be needed for patients with heart failure to mechanically pump blood out of the ventricle.
  • Heart transplant is the final treatment option if other treatments don’t work and symptoms worsen.
  • To send an electric shock to the heart when there is an abnormal rhythm
  • To synchronize the contractions of both sides of the heart in certain types of cardiomegaly
  • A pacemaker can be placed in certain types of cardiomegaly.
  • Medical and surgical procedures:
  • Diuretics to decrease sodium and fluid in the body, decreasing pressure in the blood vessels and heart.
  • Blood pressure medication to lower blood pressure and improve the heart’s ability to pump blood.
  • Beta blockers to lower blood pressure and improve heart function.
  • Anticoagulants to reduce the risk of blood clots and prevent heart attack and stroke.
  • Antiarrhythmic to normalize heart rhythm.
Cardiomegaly may lead to other complications, depending on which part of the heart is impacted:
  • Heart failure
  • Blood clot
  • Heart valve regurgitation
  • Sudden cardiac arrest and death
  • Pleural effusion and pulmonary edema
  • If you have a family history of heart conditions that can lead to cardiomegaly, please talk to your doctor about your risk factors for early diagnosis and treatment of disease.
  • Exercise regularly and choose the intensity appropriate for your physical condition.
  • Eat a balanced diet and choose nutritious foods.
  • Manage stress and care for your mental health.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Undergo a health check-up every year.
Cardiomegaly can be treated when found early and when it is mild. If you care for your health and have regular health check-ups, this condition can be resolved. Treatment will depend on your symptoms and your health, and your doctor will help you decide on the most appropriate options.

Related Treatments

Doctors Related

Related Centers

Heart (Cardiology) Center

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