I had an EKG for pre op purposes and the results were defined as borderline and possible left atrial enlargment. What does this mean and what causes it? I do not have high blood pressure, usually 110/80. Not overweight, but do smoke.
EKG's are a great diagnostic but I wouldn't want to depend on one to determine atrial size. You really need an echocardiogram, x-ray or CT scan to determine that. So I wouldn't worry about it until you have such tests and atrial enlargement if definitely confirmed.
My understanding is that, besides high BP, mitral valve prolapse or regurgitation is the main cause of atrial enlargement. Typically, with an enlarged atria, one is prone to atrial fibrillation. Since you didn't mention that among your symptoms, it's likely any enlargement you have is borderline (between normal and enlarged).
It seems left atrium enlargement is due conditions related to the left side of the heart such left side valve disease, decreased left ventricle functionality, etc. these conditions increase either pressure or volume loading on the atria leading to enlargement and/or hypertrophy.
COPD is rightside heart issue and presents a higher than normal resistance the right ventricle pumps against and enlarge the rt ventricle, etc.
Any factor that contributes to high blood pressure taxes the heart and can enlarge the left atrium. These include aging, high blood pressure, obesity and diseases such as cardiomyopathy, or a thickening of the aorta, which is the large artery leaving the heart.
A common cause of left atrial enlargement is a faulty mitral valve. If the valve doesn't close properly, the left atrium can't pump blood completely into left ventricle. Blood make back up into the left atrium, causing pressure that enlarges it. The mitral valve can be damaged due to rheumatic fever, a birth defect, calcium deposits, tumors, radiation therapy to the chest or some medicines.
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