Enlarged Heart Symptoms
Congestive heart failure may be a result of poor blood flow. It may improve over time. But, in the main, people with an enlarged heart need life-long treatment together with medications.
An enlarged heart keeps more of its pumping ability when it’s “thick” rather than “thin.”
- Viral infection of the heart
- Abnormal heart valve
- Pregnancy, with the heart enlarging around the time of delivery (your doctor may call this peripartum cardiomyopathy)
- Kidney disease that needs dialysis
- Alcohol or cocaine abuse
- HIV infection
- Genetic and inherited conditions
Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy is where a specific cause can not be identified.
- Shortness of breath (especially when active or when lying flat)
- Leg swelling
- Weight gain, particularly in your midsection
- Tired feeling
- Palpitations or skipped heartbeats
Many never have symptoms. Others may have minor issues that don’t change for years. Some may have shortness of breath that steadily gets worse.
An enlarged heart may be discovered after you and your doctor talk about symptoms you have that could be tied to congestive heart failure. Other times, it’s discovered from a test for something else.
- Muscle thickness
- Pumping function
In some cases, it can help your doctor figure out what’s causing your enlarged heart.
Other things can help discover an enlarged heart, such as:
Your history: Shortness of breath or other symptoms of congestive heart failure may provide clues.
A physical exam: You may have swelling. An enlarged heart can also produce abnormal sounds when a doctor listens with a stethoscope.
Chest X-ray: Dilated cardiomyopathy increases the heart’s size on a chest X-ray film.
Blood tests: These may be done to check for things that can lead to enlarged heart, such as:
CT scans and MRIs: These may help diagnose an enlarged heart in certain situations.
Biopsy : Very rarely, a doctor may ask for a small tissue sample from inside the heart to determine the cause of an enlarged heart.