What is Cardiomegaly?

Cardiomegaly refers to an enlarged heart. Although there could be multiple causes, the most frequent ones are high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. The efficiency of your heart would decrease due to cardiomegaly and can result in congestive heart failure. It could also heal by itself and improve over a period of time; most people with an enlarged heart need lifelong treatment with appropriate medication.

The major type of enlarged heart is dilated cardiomyopathy. In this type, the walls of both sides of the heart, known as ventricles, become stretched and thin. In the other type, the muscular left ventricle becomes very thick. In a type called hypertrophy, high blood pressure may cause your left ventricle to enlarge. Another type called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can also be inherited. An enlarged heart can keep and maintain more of its pumping ability when it's ‘thick’ rather than ‘thin’.


Usually, cardiomegaly might not show symptoms. They are apparent only when the situation worsens and the efficiency of the heart goes down. Some such symptoms may be:

  • Swollen legs
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath during physical activities and when lying flat
  • Weight gain, particularly in your midsection
  • Palpitations or skipped heartbeats


The following are the causes of cardiomegaly:

  • Coronary artery disease – Blockages that affect blood supply
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Kidney diseases
  • Viral infection of the heart
  • Alcohol or cocaine abuse
  • Peripartum cardiomyopathy – Heart enlarging in pregnant women at the time of delivery
  • HIV infection
  • Genetic and inherited conditions
  • Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy – No known cause


The risk factors for cardiomegaly are high blood pressure, heart attacks in the past, coronary artery disease, congenital heart diseases, valvular heart diseases and a family history of cardiomegaly.


You can prevent the occurrence of cardiomegaly by incorporating a healthy lifestyle- Maintain a good body weight, keep yourself fit, eat healthily, reduce alcohol, tobacco and stress.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, when you and your doctor discuss symptoms, your doctor could employ the following methods: 


How is it treated?

The treatment procedure at Medanta focuses on the cause of enlargement of the heart: 


  • Coronary artery disease

    If this is the cause, it has to be treated by opening the blockages in the clogged blood vessels that supply Oxygen. This will improve the efficiency of the heart.

  • Hypertension

    By controlling your blood pressure through a prescribed diet and exercising, you can safeguard your heart.

  • Excessive usage of drugs and alcohol

    Stopping usage of these harmful substances can improve the functionality of your heart.

  • Diuretics

    These are ‘water pills’ that make you urinate more and more, decreasing the strain on the heart.

  • Beta blockers and Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors

     These are used to treat high blood pressure.

  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator

    This is a tiny device, when implanted in your skin, controls the functioning of your heart. When it detects improper rhythms, the device sends electrical impulses and encourages the heart to pump effectively. This is a proven solution for many diseases pertaining to the heart.

  • Heart transplant

    Very rarely, your doctor might suggest the transplantation of your heart.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you have symptoms like chest pain, fainting and shortness of breath, contact your doctor immediately.

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How does Medanta provide care?


Consult with experienced doctors

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