An enlarged heart, or cardiomegaly, is a medical condition in which the heart is larger than normal. Symptoms may include respiratory problems, arrhythmia, and a cough. An enlarged heart can be caused by a number of underlying diseases, such as hypertension, cardiomyopathy, or a heart valve disease. It’s important to treat an enlarged heart as soon as possible; if untreated, cardiomegaly can lead to serious complications and heart failure. Fortunately, medical treatment exists to reduce an enlarged heart; this treatment will vary based on the underlying condition that is causing your cardiomegaly.
Take diuretic medication. Diuretics, such as Lasix or Aldactone, flush excess fluid out of your system. This loss of fluid reduces arterial pressure, possibly placing less stress on your heart and allowing it to shrink to a healthy size.
Take high blood pressure medication if hypertension is the underlying cause of your cardiomegaly. These may include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as Vasotec or beta-blockers such as Lopressor.
Undergo a valve replacement. This surgery may be necessary if you have a serious heart valve disease, such as mitral stenosis or regurgitation. The defective heart valve is replaced with an animal or mechanical valve, correcting blood flow within your heart, which may reduce inflammation and alleviate your cardiomegaly.
Get a pacemaker if your arrhythmia is causing your enlarged heart. Your heart may swell due to an irregular heartbeat, calling for a tiny mechanical pacemaker to be surgically implanted. This device regulates your heart’s contractions and alleviates sporadic and rapid heart activity. This newly adjusted rhythm may reduce the size of your enlarged heart.
Talk to your doctor about the underlying cause of your enlarged heart; this conversation is essential for choosing the treatment plan that's right for you.