What Are the Causes of Cardiomegaly?

Written by melinda gaines
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Cardiomegaly is also known as an enlarged heart. It is a condition that can be caused by many factors, though there are several causes more prevalent than others. Cardiomegaly is also associated with a host of other diseases and conditions such as hemochromatosis, congestive heart failure and hyperthyroidism, though it is not caused by them.


Cardiomegaly caused by dilation is known as dilated cardiomyopathy, DCM or congestive cardiomyopathy. In this condition, the heart's function is adversely affected as it becomes weak and enlarged. This causes the heart to not pump blood effectively. DCM affects more men than women and is most common in individuals age 20 to 60, though it can also occur in children.

Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Left ventricular hypertrophy is also known as LVH. This condition is basically the thickening of the muscle of the heart's left ventricle. LVH does naturally occur as a result of aerobic exercise, but LVH in the pathological sense can lead to cardiomegaly. Fortunately, cardiomegaly caused by LVH is not permanent in all cases.

Right Ventricular Hypertrophy

Right ventricular hypertrophy, or RVH, is similar to LVH except that it affects the heart's right ventricle. The right ventricle is how blood travels to the lungs; those who have RVH experience decreased blood circulation. As a result of the stress put on the right ventricle, the heart experiences hypertrophy (enlargement), leading to cardiomegaly.

Left Atrial Enlargement

Left atrial enlargement is commonly known as left atrial hypertrophy or left atrial abnormality. When the heart's left atria is enlarged, it can result in irregular heart beat, rapid heart rhythm or even heart attack. This condition can occur along with aortic stenosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or systemic hypertension, but it also causes cardiomegaly.

Dwarfism Diseases

A form of dwarfism that frequently causes cardiomegaly is Morquio syndrome, also known as mucopolysaccharidosis IV and Morquio's. Though it is a rare dwarfism disease, it has serious adverse affects on the health of individuals who have it. Individuals with Morquio syndrome can't properly process certain mucopolysaccharides (complex polysaccharides), and this results in build-up and cardiomegaly.

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