What is Cardiomegaly?
What is Cardiomegaly? Cardiomegaly is a condition when the heart is enlarged. This term describes a symptom that can be caused by various underlying diseases. People who experience cardiomegaly may feel heart palpitations, breathlessness, tiredness, weight gain, increased abdominal circumference, and swelling in the legs.
These symptoms are not always present in each case of cardiomegaly because there are also people who do not feel anything. If not severe, the patient may feel only mild symptoms for several years. But if the severity increases, cardiomegaly can cause shortness of breath that continues to worsen.
Causes of Cardiomegaly
Some health problems that can cause cardiomegaly are:
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Coronary heart disease
- Disease heart valve defect
- Cardiomyopathy or heart muscle disease
- Pericardial effusion or fluid buildup around the heart
- Thyroid disorders
- Viral infections of the heart
- Cardiomyopathy in pregnancy
- HIV infection
- Kidney illness
- Disease amyloidosis or diseases of the circulation of proteins in the blood
- Hemochromatosis or iron overload
Of the above health disorders, hypertension and coronary heart disease are the two most common factors causing cardiomegaly. In addition, cardiomegaly is also at risk for alcoholic and drug addicts and people who have families with a history of cardiac swelling and cardiomyopathy.
Diagnosis of Cardiomegaly
If you feel the symptoms of cardiomegaly, see a doctor for examination. For symptoms of severe shortness of breath, chest pain, or even fainting, medical action should be done immediately because it may be a sign of a heart attack. The doctor will also perform an examination using a stethoscope because the enlarged heart can produce abnormal sounds.
To know the thickness of the heart muscle, size, and function of the pump, the doctor can perform a follow-up test called an echocardiogram. In addition, to help find the cause of cardiomegaly, doctors can perform blood tests, especially in cases of congestive heart failure, HIV disease, and thyroid disorders.
Other examination methods that can also be done to detect the occurrence of cardiomegaly are:
- Chest X-ray (chest x-ray)
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Cardiac catheterization
- Heart biopsy
Cardiomegaly is better treated as early as possible when symptoms are detected in order for success rates to be higher. Treatment of cardiomegaly may include drug administration or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition that causes it.
For example, your doctor may prescribe an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor) and a beta blocker (beta blocker) to treat high blood pressure. If the patient is unable to take the medication because of a factor (especially ACE inhibitors), it is likely that the doctor will replace it with an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB).
To overcome problems related to the function of the pump and heart rhythm, drugs such as digoxin and antiarrhythmia may be prescribed. If the patient has a stroke or heart attack, anticoagulant medication can be used to prevent blood clots. To reduce the pressure on the heart from water and sodium, the doctor may prescribe diuretic medication.
The chances of successful cardiomegaly treatment will be greater if supported by changes to a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise routine, weight loss to the ideal dose, limiting salt intake, getting enough sleep every night (recommended 8 hours), quitting smoking, and not or minimizing Consumption of coffee and alcoholic beverages.
In addition, it is advisable to always monitor the level of blood pressure if you suffer from hypertension. If you have diabetes, regular checks on blood sugar levels should also be done.
If drug administration is not sufficiently potent in dealing with the cause of cardiomegaly, then surgical procedures are likely to be taken. For example, if cardiomegaly is associated with heart rate abnormalities, doctors may perform surgical procedures of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) in cases of rapid heartbeat and left ventricular assist device (LAVD) in cases of weak heartbeat.
For cases of coronary heart disease that can no longer be treated with medication, alternative steps are taken by heart bypass surgery. Similarly, the application of surgery to the heart valve is problematic.
If doctors see that the heart problem that underlies the occurrence of cardiomegaly can no longer be handled in any way, then the final solution is usually through transplantation or heart transplantation.