Cardiomegaly (patient information)
Cardiomegaly On the Web
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Editors-in-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D.
Cardiomegaly is an enlargement (i.e megaly) of the heart (Cardio means heart in Greek). It’s not a disease in itself but a physical sign that occur in many diseases and condition.
What are the symptoms of cardiomegaly?
It can present with the following symptoms:
It can also be asymptomatic in some people.
What causes Cardiomegaly?
Cardiomegaly can occur in various disease conditions like congenital heart defects, heart valve disease, hemochromatosis, HIV, pulmonary hypertension and high blood pressure etc. It can also occur in some storage diseases like Fabry disease, amyloidosis, sarcoidosis etc. It can also occur in other conditions like alcoholism , cocaine and crack abuse, pregnancy.
Who is at highest risk?
Cardiomegaly as mentioned above is a physical sign so the patient is at risk if present with the following conditions like:
- High blood pressure
- Positive family history of cardiomyopathy
- Coronary artery disease
- Congenital heart disease
When to seek urgent medical care?
One should seek medical care when suffering from symptoms of cardiomegaly or a positive family history.
The cause of cardiomegaly must be identified, if possible, for this the physician may decide to do the following:
- Chest X-ray
- Cardiac CT or MRI
- Blood tests to check for levels of certain substance like iron in case of hemochromatosis
- Heart biopsy via cardiac catheterization
Treatment depends on the specific etiology.