Posted By CCF CARDIO MD - DLB on August 13, 1998 at 17:58:57:
In Reply to: LV Dilatation posted by Todd on August 12, 1998 at 19:38:56:
I would really appreciate some medical advice...I am pretty scared.
I am a 25-year-old male.
About one year ago I started experiencing arrythmias that were very noticeable. When they occurred I would get light-headed, and I could feel the blood almost drain from my head and sense my heart skipping beats. I went to a cardiologist and he did and echo and a thallium stress test on me.
He found that I had a slight mitral valve regurgitation and that my left ventricle diastolic dimension was 5.4cm. He told me that qualifies as mildly dilated, but he said that my systolic function was well preserved. he could not explain my arrythmias, except to say that I should avoid caffeine.
Since that time I have realized that my consumption of beer has a direct bearing on the frequency and severity of my arrythmias. I have since abstained from beer (I was never a hard liquor drinker), and my arrythmias have not disappeard, but are getting better. My concern now is if all that beer binge-drinking I did in college (I never drank before the age of 19), could have caused
my dilated LV. Also, I was on large doses (80mgs/day) of Prozac and other SSRIS for part of the time I was drinking so heavily (I know that was not smart), due to my anxiety disorder and depression. My life is great now, no more alcohol, no more depression or drugs, and less stress inmy life, but I wonder if I could have done this to myself and how serious it might be for a 25-year-old to already have a dilated LV, however slight it may be.
I appreciate your help.
Various disease states can lead to a dilated heart. Viral infections can do it. High blood pressure can do it. Deformed heart valves can do it. Certain illicit drugs and alcohol can do it. Sometimes heart dilation runs in the family, that is it is inherited. Sometimes no reason is discovered, even after extensive tests.
Whether a dilation is reversible depends on the cause. If it is after a viral infection, about a third of the time the condition gets better, a third of the time it gets worse and a third of the time it stays the same. The other conditions I mentioned all need specific treatment for the condition to improve.
A dilated heart is abnormal. As far as developing a cardiomyopathy, you may already have one. All cardiomyopathy means is a disease of the heart muscle. The real question is why is your heart muscle dilated in the first place and whether you have any cardiac symptoms.
I hope this is useful. Good luck. Feel free to write back with further questions.
If you wish to be evaluated here at the Cleveland Clinic, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE for an appointment with a cardiologist at desk F15. Information provided in the Heart Forum is for general purposes only. Specific diagnoses and therapies can only be provided by your doctor.
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