Enlarged heart

An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) isn't a disease, but rather a symptom of another condition.

The term "cardiomegaly" most commonly refers to an enlarged heart seen on a chest X-ray. Other tests are then needed to diagnose the condition causing your enlarged heart.

You may develop an enlarged heart temporarily because of a stress on your body, such as pregnancy, or because of a medical condition, such as the weakening of the heart muscle, coronary artery disease, heart valve problems or abnormal heart rhythms.

An enlarged heart may be treatable by correcting the cause. Treatment for an enlarged heart can include medications, medical procedures or surgery.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

In some people, an enlarged heart causes no signs or symptoms. Others may have these signs and symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Swelling (edema)

When to see a doctor

An enlarged heart is easier to treat when it's detected early, so talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your heart.

If you have new signs or symptoms that might be related to your heart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Seek emergency medical care if you have any of these signs and symptoms, which may mean you're having a heart attack:

  • Chest pain
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Fainting

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