Important Facts to Know About an Enlarged Heart

An enlarged heart is a consequence of the heart working more than usual. This is also known as cardiomegaly. It is not a disease but a condition wherein the muscles of the heart have worked so hard that the walls of the heart have thickened and the chambers widened.

This can happen due to a number of reasons such as blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, or heart valve problems. Irrespective of the conditions, the issue is that an enlarged heart cannot pump blood as efficiently as a normal healthy heart . This can lead to heart failure and stroke.


Some of the symptoms of an enlarged heart are as follows –

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Swollen legs and ankles

High Risk Individuals

Individuals are more likely to have an enlarged heart if they have the following conditions –

  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure
  • Excess use of drugs or alcohol
  • Previous episodes of heart attack
  • Parent or sibling with an enlarged heart
  • Metabolic disorders such as thyroid disease


Early diagnosis of an enlarged heart is essential to better the heart conditions. This can be done during a physical exam when the doctor witnesses any of the symptoms mentioned above. There are also a number of tests which can be done to monitor the condition more closely. A few of these tests are as follows –

  • Stress tests to check how hard the heart is working during exercise
  • Blood tests to check for substances which may aid in enlarging the heart
  • Electrocardiogram – this test is done to check the electrical activity of the heart and irregular heart rhythms
  • MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging that makes use of magnets and radio waves to produce pictures of the heart
  • CT Scan that make use of X-Rays to create detailed images of the heart and diagnose valve disease or inflammation
  • ECK/ EKG or Echocardiogram in which sound waves are used to detect problems in the chambers of your heart
  • Cardiac Catheterization – A long flexible tube is inserted into the blood vessel into the arm or groin through which contrast material is inserted. This helps doctors check for heart blockages and how it functions.


Lifestyle changes along with medication for treating health conditions which lead to a an enlarged heart are what constitute the treatment process. Some of these are as follows –

Medicinal Help

  • Heart Failure – Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), beta-blockers, inotropes, and diuretics
  • Irregular Heartbeat – pacemaker, antiarrhythmic drugs and ICD (Implanted Cardioverter-Defibrillator)
  • Narrowed Coronary Arteries – Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG), percutaneous coronary intervention, and nitrates
  • Blood Pressure – Beta blockers, ACE (Angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, and AR (Angiotensin Receptor) blocker

Lifestyle Changes

  • Weight Loss
  • Regular exercise
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • No Smoking and alcohol


The conditions which cause the heart to become enlarged can damage the muscles of the heart. If left untreated, they can cause many complications as suggested by some Heart Hospital in Delhi ,  are as follows –

  • Blood Clots
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Murmur

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