An enlarged heart may be caused by a thickening of the heart muscle because of increased workload. (This increased workload can be due to heart valve disease or high blood pressure, for example.) This is called hypertrophy (hi-PER'tro-fe), which refers to enlargement of an organ or tissue due to an increase in cell size.
Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is the medical term for enlargement of the left ventricle. (The left ventricle is the heart's main pumping chamber.) Hypertrophy also occurs in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (hi"per-TRO'fik kar"de-o-mi-OP'ah-the). Enlarged heart may also be a dilation (expansion) of the heart due to damage that weakens the heart muscle.
An enlarged heart can be fairly benign or it can be serious. It depends on the extent of the enlargment and whether or not a cause is identifiable. If you have an enlarged heart that was discovered via x-ray, you will be asked to undergo multiple tests to determine the cause of your particular issue. An enlarged heart can be fairly benign, but in other instances it can be quite serious. Until your doctor knows more about your specific situation, anything we tell you would be pure conjecture.
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