What Is the Typical Prognosis for an Enlarged Heart?


Quick Answer

More often than not, an enlarged heart causes no symptoms and may pose no issues, according to WebMD. However, an enlarged heart may be increasingly ineffective in pumping blood, resulting in varying symptoms similar to those of congestive heart failure, especially shortness of breath.

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Full Answer

If damage occurs to the heart muscle, then the heart may enlarge in response, explains WebMD. However, to a certain point, enlargement of the heart does not affect the heart's ability to pump blood, so no symptoms present themselves. In these cases, the individual often does not discover the enlarged heart unless he has a test conducted for other reasons. If the heart enlarges past a certain point, then it is unable to pump blood as effectively, therefore resulting in related symptoms.

The most common symptom is shortness of breath, according to WebMD. Some of the other symptoms include swelling of the legs, fatigue, weight gain and palpitations. As the prognosis of an enlarged heart varies between individuals, these symptoms may either improve over time, remain mild and unchanged, or worsen as time passes. In any case, with proper medication, the symptoms of an enlarged heart can be controlled, notes WebMD. Treatments are typically the same as those for coronary artery disease high blood pressure.

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