An enlarged heart—generally referred to as cardiomegaly—is a symptom of another underlying condition, such as heart disease, a heart valve problem, a previous heart attack, or even stress from infections or pregnancy.
The heart muscles can become thicker, or one chamber may dilate—enlarging the heart—in response to certain conditions that either damage the heart muscle or make the heart pump harder than it should. These conditions may be temporary, or they may be chronic, ranging from congenital defects to damage from a heart attack.
Sometimes the cause of an enlarged heart is indeterminable. This is referred to as idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.
Some people with an enlarged heart may never know they have one unless it is identified during a physical exam.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your doctor can order several tests to determine if your heart is enlarged, including a chest x-ray, electro- or echocardiogram, stress test, or CT scan. These tests evaluate how efficiently your heart is pumping blood, identify any damage to your heart, and find out if any of the arteries are blocked or chambers enlarged.
The complications of an enlarged heart depend on the underlying condition that is causing the problem and the part of the heart that is affected or enlarged. The heart can continue to function normally up to a certain point, but as the condition causing the heart to dilate and enlarge continues to progress, the heart's performance will begin to decline.
The best tool for diagnosing an enlarged heart is an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. This risk-free test assesses your heart’s size, function, and thickness. Similarly, a chest X-ray can also reveal an enlarged heart.
Your doctor can also assess your risk through a physical exam. Typically, enlarged hearts are detectable through stethoscope tests. In some cases, blood tests are useful in testing for thyroid diseases or viral infections.
An enlarged heart is treated by treating the condition causing it. Treatment options may include medications, medical procedures, changes in lifestyle, or a combination of all three. Your doctor may prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure, improve your heart’s function, regulate your heartbeat, or reduce your risk of blood clots.
If medication alone is not enough, you may need a medical or surgical procedure, such as heart valve surgery to repair or replace the damaged valve or coronary bypass surgery. You may also benefit from a medical device like a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), an implantable mechanical pump that helps your heart to pump; or a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), which monitors and regulates your heartbeat. Extreme cases may require a full heart transplant.
An enlarged heart is typically the result of another health condition. In some cases, an enlarged heart can be prevented by reducing your risk of developing an underlying condition that will impact your heart, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle, stopping tobacco use, and limiting alcohol consumption are all ways to prevent your risk of developing a heart condition and, subsequently, an enlarged heart. If you already have a pre-existing condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, managing it appropriately and improving your lifestyle choices can help to keep your heart functioning regularly.
The team of physicians at CardioVascular Health Clinic specializes in the treatment of cardiovascular conditions like enlarged heart, remaining at the forefront of innovative technology and techniques to deliver the highest quality of care. With eight state-of-the-art facilities across Oklahoma, CardioVascular Health Clinic helps ensure you receive the accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan you deserve to live your life to the fullest. Don’t wait another day to take charge of your health; call CardioVascular Health Clinic today at (405) 701-9880 or contact us to schedule your appointment.
Dr. Jim Melton and all the staff are fantastic. He is an excellent surgeon and his team is GREAT!!!! I just had surgery at the surgery center, I have only great things to say about my experience. Without him I really don't think I would be here to write this. If you’re looking for a good cardiovascular team, they are a 5 star for sure.
Dr. Parsons and staff are amazing. He truly listened to me from the consult. Staff showed genuine care for my progress post procedure. I had my follow up appointment today so satisfied with results. Blake made me comfortable from the start. He is an activist for uterine fibroids treatment beyond the standard.
Professional and caring staff. Dr. Smith is very knowledgeable and shows genuine concern for your personal health. I enjoyed the background music in the procedure room, it really adds to the relaxing atmosphere.
Dr. John Schrader is the most personable doctor we know. He stays on top of my dads health care and is genuinely concerned about his health. We never leave his office with questions. He answers them all. Even questions we don’t think of. Always professional but never cold or bad bedside manner. In our opinion he is THE BEST around.
Thank you Dr Schrader.
I came to Dr. Warren by a self referral for mals when it took me 8yrs 50+ doctors and thousands of dollars spent on no answers. My first visit I was scared I was just going to be gaslighted just like the past however I was pleasantly shocked when Dr. Warren immediately believed me. She took the time to review many disk I had brought from past tests. She never once dismissed me and listened to ever word I had to say. She scheduled one last test to confirm the diagnosis then I was scheduled for surgery right away. Surgery was a success and I can’t thank her and her staff enough. Dr. Warren truly saved my life.
Dr. Garner literally saved my life 18 months ago and I've followed him to his new practice with Cardiovascular Health. He explains things so clearly, listens and is just a very nice person. His staff is great, too! I highly recommend!
Some of the nicest staff that I have ever dealt with!! They have been so incredibly awesome to my mom!! Would definitely recommend them to anyone!! Thank you so much for being so great with her!!