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death due to enlarged heart
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death due to enlarged heart

i have a friend whose daughter died suddenly in her sleep. she was 38 years old with no known health problems. all the toxology reports came back completely normal. at first, the autospy report didn't reveal any problems. later, however, when they finalized the report, the coroner noted an "enlarged Heart" as her cause of death. she had not told anyone of any pain, or any symptoms that would have been suspect. her last doctor visit had shown "slightly elevated blood pressure", but it wasn't high enough that the doctor decided to monitor it. could an enlarged heart(if that was really the case)cause a person's death w/no symptoms? my friend is concerned for her grandchildren(her daughter had 5 kids, all of which still live at home w/their dad)--she is wondering if there's a genetic problem that could affect their heart's as well. thank you for your time.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear celine,

"Enlarged heart" is not strictly a medical term and could mean several different things.  Most likely the coroner was refering to a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM or HCOM). There are many postings on this site concerning this condition.  In brief it is a genetic condition that results in thickening of the heart muscle and increased risk of sudden death.  It may not be apparent on physical exam and individuals may have no symptoms.  If this is indeed the diagnosis her children are at risk of having this condition and should be screened with an ECG at least an possibly an echocardiogram.
10 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Celine,

Was the woman athletic?  Was she over weight?
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Avatar_n_tn
We had a neighbor who was 39 years old, mother of 3 boys, NOT overweight, active, but probably not in a regimented exercise program who died in her sleep also from an undetected heart problem - there were no previous symtoms (symptoms) - I'm not sure what the final diagnosis was.  So tragic and scary.....
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, extremely scary.  Not necessarily connected with any family history?  I've seen many posts about people dying like this...the ages for the most part all seem to be 38-40 years old.

If there are no symptoms prior to death and no indicators in familial history, how can doctors confidently tell people not to worry about this?
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Avatar_n_tn
thank you for your comments. i plan to give this info to my friend. i did review the rest of related messages on this forum and viewed them in the archives too. can you give me an easy to understand answer as to what hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is, and how this might affect her children. i know that suggestions on this forum are for them to have echo tests, but is there any other info she (the grandmother) should know? her daughter's fam ily are on a very limited income, and would their medical insurance most likely cover tests for the kids, due to their mother's history? thanks again for your help. celine
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Avatar_n_tn
These are scary stories of people dying from undetected heart problems, I must admit with my ablation and heart irregularity problems I think about this every single minute of every day.  I am 38 and can't get these thoughts out of my head.  The doctors have done everything to me and tell me not to worry.  Does this make someone LESS likely to have a sudden death due to the fact that they have had soooo many tests and the doctors are confident that they do not need to worry, not just one doctor but several?  If there was a problem would it have likely been detected with the holters, echoes, ecg's bloodwork, ep study etc??????  Just trying to ease up on some needless worrying that seems to have taken over my life.  ***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
I was just recently diagnosed with Constrictive Percarditis, with calcification.  My heart is enlarged among other things and I am also 38.  I am being sent to Mayo July 13 for a percardietomy where they are going to remove my percardium.  The lining of my heart.  This is very rare or so I am told and I am wondering can I be the only one in recent years?  I was healthy as a horse, now they tell me if they don't operate I'll die and I may die of they do.  Very dangerous surgery.  If anyone is familiar with this please let me know.  It all started with an enlargement on an echo, which led to a chest xray.  The calcification is severe and the constriction has begun.
Cathy
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Avatar_n_tn
I can be reached at ***@**** thanks
catherine
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Avatar_n_tn
MY 21 YEAR OLD SON DIED SUDDENLY OF HCM THREE YEARS AGO.  IT WAS AND STILL IS DEVASTATING.  WE HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING AS HEART WRENCHING IN OUR LIVES.  HE TOO WAS THE PICTURE OF HEALTH AND NEVER COMPLAINED OF ANY SYMPTOMS.  OUR OTHER SON WHO IS 16 HAS AN ECHO EVERY SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR.  WE WILL NOT FEEL ANY RELIEF UNTIL HE IS IN HIS TWENTIES.  WE DON'T KNOW OF ANY FAMILY HISTORY BUT WE WILL KEEP HIM UNDER CLOSE SUPERVISION JUST AS A PRECAUTION.  WE THINK ECHOS SHOULD BE PART OF SPORTS PHYSICAL FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.  IF IT HAD BEEN SO,  OUR SONS PROBLEM WOULD HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED.  ONE TEST COULD HAVE SAVED HIS LIFE.
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, Is heart enlarged cure easily? was started.
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A related discussion, heart problems was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have an enlarged heart  and this s%&# scares the poo out of me and im a personal trainer im wondering if any one know were i can find more info about it thanks denis kenealy
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A related discussion, Not a question was started.
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