What Are the Health Risks of Having an Enlarged Right Atria?

An enlarged right atrium is a sign of cardiomegaly, and cardiomegaly can lead to blood clots, heart failure and cardiac arrest. Several medications and devices that regulate the heart can help to treat an enlarged right atrium, especially if cardiomyopathy causes the condition, Mayo Clinic says.

The condition of cardiomegaly is the scientific term for an enlarged heart. Patients can develop an enlarged right atrium from high blood pressure, thyroid disorders and heart valve disease, Mayo Clinic explains. People with congenital heart conditions may develop an enlarged heart more easily than others, and patients with a family history of cardiomegaly are more likely to suffer from it.

Though heart failure results from an enlarged left ventricle more often than not, an enlarged right atrium can lead to blood clots in the lining of the heart. This can cause a heart attack or a stroke, Mayo Clinic says.

Medicines, surgery and heart devices can treat an enlarged heart, notes Mayo Clinic. If cardiomyopathy is the cause of the enlarged right atrium, doctors can prescribe a variety of medications to combat it. Diuretics lower the pressure in the heart, while anticoagulants decrease the risk of clotting. A small device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or ICD, helps regulate an uneven heart rhythm.