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What Are the Different Types of Enlarged Heart Treatment?

By Jackie Myers
Updated May 17, 2024
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Enlarged heart treatment may involve medications, surgery, or the insertion of devices into the chest. Pacemakers restore the normal coordinated beating of a heart through electrical stimulation. Medications such as diuretics can prevent scars from forming on the heart. If an enlarged heart, also known as cardiomegaly, is due to coronary artery disease, doctors recommend coronary artery bypass surgery.

The heart becomes enlarged when certain conditions cause it to beat harder than usual. In some people, it may become enlarged and weak for no known reason. Some of the underlying conditions include high-blood pressure. Since hypertension requires the heart to pump harder, it makes the muscle around the heart thicker. Underactive and overactive thyroid disorders can also enlarge the heart.

Congestive heart failure develops slowly over many years and can also result in heart enlargement. A few of the most common symptoms of an enlarged heart include abdominal swelling and shortness of breath. Those who need to urinate more frequently at night and have heart palpitations are exhibiting signs of cardiomegaly. An irregular pulse and constant coughing are also symptoms of heart enlargement.

Several tests can be performed to diagnose someone with an enlarged heart. Echocardiograms detect sound waves and sends it to a machine which shows the picture of the beating heart to a doctor. Doppler ultrasound shows the actual blood flowing through the heart valves and is done in conjunction with an echocardiogram. After the diagnosis for cardiomegaly is made, people will find several options for an enlarged heart treatment.

If the heart muscle disease more commonly referred to as cardiomyopathy is the underlying cause. A number of medications will be prescribed to treat the issue. Diuretics can lower the amount of sodium and water in the body. As a result, there is less pressure in the arteries and heart. Using a diuretic as an enlarged heart treatment can prevent further scarring of the heart tissue. Beta blockers help to improve heart function also lower blood pressure.

Doctors may recommend using a pacemaker to treat cardiomyopathy. A specialized pacemaker will coordinate the contractions in the left and right ventricles. Tiny devices are implanted into the chest. It will continuously monitor the heart rhythms. When rapid heartbeats occur, the small device sends an electrical shock to the heart.

An enlarged heart treatment option that requires surgery is performed when there is an problem with the valves or arteries of the heart. This procedure is called a coronary bypass. Narrow valves in the heart can be replaced with artificial ones or with valves from cows, pigs, or human-cadaver donors.

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