Enlarged heart is a condition which is known as cardiomegaly. This a sign of some other health condition and not a disease itself. Enlarged heart is characterized when heart is seen large on imaging tests like chest X-rays.
Enlarged heart may presents as:
- Problematic breathing
- Edema or swelling
- Pain in the chest
Enlarged heart is a condition which is caused mainly by any problem in the body that causes heart to pump harder than usual and damage heart muscles. If this occur due to some unknown cause, it’s called idiopathic cardiomegaly. Some other conditions that leads to enlarged heart are: congenital defect, high blood pressure, diseases of heart valves, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension, pericardial effusion, anemia, thyroid gland problems etc.
Diagnosis depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient as well as imaging tests. Other tests include:
- Chest xray
- Cardiac computerized tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Stress test
- Blood tests
- Cardiac catheterization
- Coronary angiogram
- Treatment lies under correcting the underlying cause of enlarged heart
- Some medications are prescribed like diuretics, Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), Beta blockers and Anti-arrhythmics.
- Surgery and other invasive procedures are required sometimes to correct enlarged heart. Procedures could include; installation of medical devices like pacemakers, heart valve surgery, coronary bypass surgery and Left ventricular assist device (LVAD).