An enlarged heart isn't a condition that occurs on its own, but a symptom caused by an underlying disease. A heart enlargement is referred to as cardiomegaly and is often seen during a chest X-ray. If a doctor sees that you have an enlarged heart, he will run more tests to see what is causing the enlargement and then determine how to reverse the condition.
Receive a diagnosis on the cause of the heart enlargement. Tests typically ordered by your doctor besides the chest X-ray is an EKG, echocardiogram, CAT scan or blood work. The results of these tests will let the doctor know what is causing the enlarged heart. Potential reasons include high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, cardiomyopathy and congenial heart defects.
Get a prescription for a drug to strengthen the heart muscle. Heart defects and cardiomyopathy can cause an enlarged heart due to weakened heart muscles. Medications such as Lasix, Vasotec, Diovan and Digoxin can help reverse the heart enlargement by strengthening these muscles.
Undergo a procedure to regulate your heartbeat. If your medical condition is causing an irregular heartbeat, this could enlarge your heart. Your doctor may decide to use a pacemaker as a way to regulate your heartbeat to treat the disease and return your heart to its normal size.
See if you will need more extensive surgeries to reverse a heart enlargement. If a medication or pacemaker cannot correct the medical condition causing the enlarged heart, you may need to undergo heart valve surgery or receive a heart transplant. Heart valve surgery is needed if a leaky valve is causing the heart enlargement. A heart transplant is a last resort if no other treatment has proven effective at treating the underlying cause of the enlarged heart.
To help your condition, you should make some changes to your lifestyle during treatment. Stop smoking, drinking or taking drugs and follow a doctor-recommended low-salt diet. Your doctor will also likely recommend exercising daily and regularly monitoring your blood pressure.
Tips and warnings
- To help your condition, you should make some changes to your lifestyle during treatment. Stop smoking, drinking or taking drugs and follow a doctor-recommended low-salt diet. Your doctor will also likely recommend exercising daily and regularly monitoring your blood pressure.