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Cardiomegaly: What All Should You Know

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Cardiomegaly: What All Should You Know

Cardiac Surgery | by Dr. Manoj Kumar Daga | Published on 02/06/2023


Have you been experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, etc? Did you know it can indicate cardiomegaly? Yes, you heard that right. Cardiomegaly, an enlarged heart problem is not a condition but can be an indication of an underlying condition. It is recommended not to overlook this problem as it can turn out to be life-threatening for the patient later. If you experience any symptoms of cardiomegaly, then make sure to get in touch with the experienced and best doctors in Jaipur, like Rukmani Birla Hospital. You will find the most professional and talented healthcare professionals here. 

In this blog post, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options for cardiomegaly, so stick till the end. Kindly know that it is only for informative purposes and is not ruling out the doctor’s consultation.

What is cardiomegaly?

Cardiomegaly is also referred to as an enlarged heart and is a health issue that is determined by an unusual increase in the heart size. It’s not a health disease but a symptom of an underlying condition. If you have this problem, then your heart might be thick or stretched more often. However, an enlarged heart can be permanent or temporary depending on its cause. It can occur to the whole heart or some parts of it. 

Heart enlargement is an outcome of your heart’s reaction to something that is forcing you to put more effort into circulating more blood.

What are cardiomegaly causes?

There are various factors leading to cardiomegaly development. Let’s have a look at some of the cardiomegaly causes: 

  • High Blood Pressure: It can cause the heart to pump blood harder, causing enlargement over time. 
  • Heart Valve Problems: There are conditions like aortic stenosis or mitral regurgitation that lead to causing the heart to enlarge because of the enlarged workload. 
  • Coronary Artery Disease: The heart muscle might not be receiving enough nutrients and oxygen, when the coronary arteries become blocked or narrowed, eventually causing heart enlargement. 
  • Cardiomyopathy: It is referred to as heart muscle disease like dilated cardiomyopathy, restrictive, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. These are the conditions causing weakness in the heart, stiffness, and thickness, leading to enlargement. 
  • Congenital Heart Defects: There are people born with structural heart anomalies causing cardiomegaly. 
  • Chronic Lung Diseases: There are conditions such as obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary hypertension that lead to pain in the heart leading to enlargement.

What are cardiomegaly symptoms?

Cardiomegaly might not involve any noticeable symptoms in the initial stages. However, as the condition keeps progressing, you might notice the following cardiomegaly symptoms:

  • Shortness of Breath: It becomes complex for the heart to pump blood efficiently as it enlarges leading to accumulation of fluids in the lungs and causing shortness of breath.
  • Fatigue and Weakness: You might experience fatigue and weakness as the heart reduces the efficiency to pump blood proficiently and causes decreased supply of oxygen to the body. 
  • Swelling: Cardiomegaly leads to fluid retention and causes swelling in the legs, ankles, and abdomen.
  • Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat: Heart enlargement can interfere with the heart's electrical system, which causes heart palpitations, an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmias.
  • Dizziness and Fainting: Insufficient blood flow to the brain occurs because of heart weakness which leads to fainting spells and dizziness.

How is cardiomegaly diagnosed?

To confirm a cardiomegaly diagnosis, a healthcare provider first will initiate with understanding your medical history, family history, and symptoms. After a thorough evaluation, the following are the steps that might be followed: 

  • Physical Examination: The doctor will involve the use of a stethoscope to listen to the heart and identify the fluid retention signs like enlarged liver or swollen legs. 
  • Imaging tests: These tests involve chest X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT scan). These tests benefit in visualizing the heart's function, size, and structure. 
  • Electrocardiogram: This test is ordered as it helps in recording the heart's electrical activity and irregularities in the heart rhythm.

What are the options for cardiomegaly treatment?

The treatment options for cardiomegaly depend on its cause, condition severity, and individual patient factors. Once all of these are understood by a doctor, treatment is given to the patient accordingly. Here are some of the options for cardiology treatment usually recommended:

  • Underlying condition management: Cardiomegaly usually is an outcome of underlying medical conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease, heart valve problems, or heart muscle diseases. It is essential to treat the condition to manage cardiomegaly. It involves lifestyle changes, surgical interference, and medications. 
  • Medications: Certain medications are recommended for cardiomegaly treatment and related conditions. The objective is managing symptoms, controlling blood pressure, improving heart function, and preventing complications. These medications include ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, diuretics, antiplatelet agents, and anticoagulants. 
  • Lifestyle modifications: Lifestyle changes are recommended as it helps in alleviating symptoms and reducing the cardiomegaly progression. These changes involve a heart-healthy diet, saturated fats, daily exercise, managing weight, quitting smoking, restricting consumption of alcohol, and reducing stress. 
  • Cardiac rehabilitation: In certain situations, cardiac rehabilitation is recommended. This treatment option involves educating on a heart-healthy diet, living, exercise training, and counseling for supporting lifestyle changes. 
  • Surgical interventions: In some cases or when conservative treatments aren’t able to deliver accurate results, then surgical interference is required. It includes procedures like coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), valve repair or replacement, pacemaker implantation, or cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). In extreme situations, heart transplantation might be needed to treat the condition.
  • Supportive care: Cardiomegaly usually needs management and monitoring. Frequent check-ups with a healthcare team, heart function monitoring, and compliance with prescribed medications are important to make sure optimal care. 

It's essential to understand that the particular treatment plan for cardiomegaly must be characterized by an experienced and skilled healthcare professional depending on an individual's medical history, diagnostic tests, and overall health status.

Final words

In a nutshell, cardiomegaly is an essential medical concern that needs prompt evaluation and adequate management. It usually is an indication of an underlying heart condition causing complications like heart failure, arrhythmias, or even sudden cardiac arrest when left untreated. If you are looking for healthcare services offering cardiomegaly treatment, then make sure to consult healthcare professionals at Rukmani Birla Hospital in Jaipur.

FAQs

Is having an enlarged heart serious?

Yes, having an enlarged heart is a serious medical concern as it causes sudden cardiac arrest., heart failure or heart stroke. 

Can an enlarged heart go back to normal?

Yes, an enlarged heart can go back to normal with the right treatment options. 

Is mild cardiomegaly serious?

Yes, cardiomegaly is a serious concern that requires prompt attention with diagnosis and immediate treatment.