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Enlarged Heart
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Enlarged Heart

Dear Doctor,
  Last Monday my 3 yr. old daughter had a chest xray to check for
pneumonia.  She did not have pneumonia but her xray revealed an
enlarged heart.  She was briefly hospitalized back in June and
had a chest xray then that showed a heart on the large side of
normal - now the report just said "enlarged".  My doctor said
the radiologist was the very best at the hospital (TX Children')
but wanted to have the xray reevaluated.  She suggested that
perhaps my daughter would have another chest xray or have an
echocardiogram.  My daughter seems fine - no shortness of breath,
gaining weight well etc.  What are the dangers of having an
enlarged heart?  Could she have an enlarged heart and still live
a normal life with nothing wrong?  Oh yes, as a newborn she did
have an echocardiogram because of a heart murmur that turned out
to be a Stilles Murmur-totally innocent.  I won't find out until
Monday what our pediatrican wants to do regarding this so if
there are specific questions I should ask please let me know as
I DON'T know much about this subject.  Thank you for your time.
                                                Kelley
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Dear Kelley,

It would be important to rule out correctable causes of an enlarged heart in your daughter.  these would include changes in the valves of her heart, shunts or opening between the chanbers of her heart or a decline in heart muscle function.  It is important to have a pediatric cardiologist evaluate this as you are doing.  It might be absolutely nothing, but it would be important to make sure of that.
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