An enlarged heart is a condition caused by other underlying medical conditions, such as the weakening of your heart muscles. An enlarged heart may not always be a preventable condition. For example, if you were born with a congenital heart defect, the defect can lead to an enlarged heart. Treating an enlarged heart is essential in preventing complications, such as blood clots, heart failure or even cardiac arrest. Depending on the cause of your enlarged heart, your physician will try to treat the underlying cause of your condition.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Monitoring by your physician
- Medications such as diuretics, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors
- Possible surgery or medical procedures to treat your heart
Take medications as prescribed by your physician. Discuss with your physician which medications will benefit your condition best.
Take angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor medications that help lower your blood pressure if this is the cause of your enlarged heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, ACE inhibitors can also help your heart to pump better. Take angiotensin receptor blockers if you're unable to take ACE inhibitors.
Discuss with your physician taking medications such as beta blockers or digoxin. These types of medications are important in helping your heart function better.
Get a pacemaker if you have dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a severe type of enlarged heart. A pacemaker operates by coordinating how your heart contracts, and ensuring that your right and left heart valves contract at the right time.
Get an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator if you suffer from an arrhythmia that is the cause of your enlarged heart. An ICD is a very small device that will shock your heart when your heart begins to beat abnormally.
Replace a defective heart valve when your enlarged heart is caused by a heart valve that has become narrowed. According to the Mayo Clinic, the defective valve will be replaced with either a synthetic valve or a valve from a donor.
Fix a defective leaking valve that could be the cause of your enlarged heart. The defective valve can be repaired or replaced, depending on the severity of the leaking valve.
Get a heart transplant when other treatment options fail. Discuss this type of procedure with your physician, as transplants include the risk of infection and rejection of the donor heart.
Medical Devices & Surgeries
Tips and warnings
- When taking any medications prescribed by your physician, always follow exact instructions to ensure that your condition can be treated appropriately.
- If you know that you have a family history of heart disease, let your physician know so that early detection and treatment of your condition can help prevent your condition from turning into a complication.
- Never discontinue any medications unless instructed by your physician. This can result in your condition becoming exacerbated or worse.
- If you have an enlarged heart, abstain from excessive alcohol use, smoking, and drugs, which can make your condition worse.
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