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What You Must Know About Left Atrial enlargement?

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What You Must Know About Left Atrial enlargement?

Cardiology | by Dr. Rakesh Sarkar | Published on 06/12/2022


Did you know that left atrial enlargement is an indication that the upper heart chamber is handling excessive blood and high pressure? Individuals experiencing the issue usually have high blood pressure, heart problems, and heart valve issues. The treatment for this entirely relies on the reason. There might be the requirement for medication, adopting healthier lifestyle habits, and replacement of the valve.

If you are not aware of what left atrial enlargement is, don’t worry, in this write-up, we will discuss everything one must know about it. So, let’s begin with the reading.

What is left atrial enlargement?

This is referred to as one of the heart chambers in the human body. It is a condition that occurs when heart chambers get bigger than their usual size. It takes place when the left atrium is trying to adjust to problems like blood pressure. Sometimes, people might come across a problem with their left ventricle pumping blood to the aorta. Some individuals might have some issues with the mitral valve allowing the blood to move between their left atrium and left ventricle.

These problems can cause high blood pressure and a huge amount of blood in the left atrium. The atrium can expand or get larger when trying to adapt to working up with the high volume and blood pressure. Due to stretching, an individual can see noticeable scars and injuries to their atrium. 

Who is the most affected by left atrial enlargement?

Left atrial enlargement affects people who are suffering from varied conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, mitral valve pressure, aortic valve disease, certain forms of cardiomyopathy, diastolic dysfunction, left ventricular hypertrophy, and congenital heart disease.

How serious is left atrial enlargement?

This is not a serious issue, but an indication of a serious problem. If an individual is suffering from the condition, it is crucial to discover the root cause and get treatment on time. It can cause dangerous health concerns in the future if no treatment is applied to the underlying cause.

Can left atrial enlargement be cured and reversed?

At present, no cure is available for the left atrial enlargement and it cannot be reversed as well. The doctor will recommend the treatment for every particular cause to ease the symptoms.

What causes left atrial enlargement?

It is found that individuals who are born with any condition or develop later can experience left atrial enlargement. There are several causes like:

  • One of the causes is high blood pressure
  •  Mitral valve regurgitation and mitral valve stenosis are also the identified causes of left atrial enlargement.
  • When there is a tumor or mass in the left atrium, it results in left atrial enlargement.
  • There is another cause known as arteriovenous fistulas which is a connected vein and artery involving the blood exchange without the use of capillaries among them.
  • Other factors that are there causing left atrial enlargement include failure of the left ventricular, ventricular septal defect, and patent ductus arteriosus.

Why does left atrial enlargement cause atrial fibrillation?

It is found to be common among patients who are suffering from atrial fibrillation. It is mainly with those individuals who are experiencing mitral valve disease or systemic hypertension. According to a study, left atrial enlargement reduces the possibility of maintaining the long-term sinus rhythm.

What are the possible left atrial enlargement symptoms?

The condition doesn’t exactly involve the symptoms but there are symptoms of the condition one can experience causing it. The possible left atrial enlargement symptoms are tiredness, heart palpitations, weight gain, difficulty breathing, arms or legs swelling, and fainting.

It also leads to causing clinical issues like unusual heart rhythms or arrhythmias. The symptoms might involve chest fluttering, fainting, chest pain, and palpitations.

How left atrial enlargement is diagnosed?

The doctor initiates the diagnosis with the use of an electrocardiogram or EKG/ECG. A rare “P wave” is known as one of the left atrial enlargement signs. If an individual experiences this condition, the P wave indicates that the contraction of the atria is longer than usual.

Other tests that a doctor will conduct for left atrial enlargement diagnosis involve transthoracic echocardiogram, cardiac CT scan, and heart MRI.

How to treat left atrial enlargement?

There is no particular treatment available as the condition cannot be reversed if it continues for more than a week. Although there are methods or treatment options one can include in their regular life. The treatment basically involves reducing the symptoms and treating the condition causing it:

  • The doctor recommends involving exercise in your routine.
  • It is important to give up the products that contain tobacco.
  • You must consume foods that are low in salt.
  • One should ensure to reduce the intake or completely avert from alcohol.
  • It is important to regularly take blood pressure medicines.
  • The doctor might recommend surgery for fixing the valve problems so it must not be delayed for long.
  • Medicines should be consumed regularly to treat valve issues.
  • Blood thinners should be taken daily so that the risk of stroke can be prevented.
  • Medications to reduce the risk of heart failure should also be taken regularly.

Final thoughts

The left atrial enlargement usually is not taken seriously by us. Hence, it is crucial that when a doctor diagnoses you with a left atrial enlargement condition, you must consider it as a warning indication. Try finding out the cause as it will assist in setting up a plan with the appropriate treatment. It is always essential to take good care of your heart. A lot of people don’t even experience left atrial enlargement symptoms when suffering from it.

You must ensure keeping your blood pressure and heart rhythms under control as this can be a reflection of additional heart issues. It is also important to discuss with the doctor if you have a family history of heart conditions as the doctor will initiate monitoring the problems cautiously.

FAQs

What does the left atrial enlargement indicate?

Left atrial enlargement is an indication of problems linked to the heart’s upper chamber which is handling excessive blood and high pressure.

How long can you live with left atrial enlargement?

You can live with left atrial enlargement but it is crucial to identify the cause behind it. Once the cause is identified, you must get in touch with your doctor so that they can provide adequate treatment.

Should I worry about left atrial enlargement?

You don’t have to worry about left atrial enlargement because it is a warning of one. If you are experiencing the problem, you should ensure to find out the cause and treatment. If the condition is not treated, then it can cause a problem in the future.

Can I exercise with left atrial enlargement?

Yes, you can exercise with left atrial enlargement. You don’t have to feel concerned about the condition but make sure to avert from the heavy exercises.

Can stress cause left atrial enlargement?

Yes, according to the studies it is found that acute mental stress causes left atrial enlargement and causes adverse alteration. So, you must try to stay away from stress otherwise you can face other health conditions as well except left atrial enlargement.