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Conditions & Services / Enlarged Heart

Cardiologists & Vascular Specialists located in Dallas Fort Worth and the North Texas Region

Enlarged Heart

About Enlarged Heart

An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) isn't a heart disease; it's a symptom caused by one of many possible conditions. The exceptional cardiologists at HeartPlace have years of experience diagnosing the cause of an enlarged heart and providing individualized treatments that prevent progressive heart disease and restore your health and wellness. To schedule an appointment, call one of the 30 offices across North Texas or book online today. 

Enlarged Heart Q & A

What causes an enlarged heart?

An enlarged heart, called cardiomegaly, occurs due to an underlying health condition. You may develop an enlarged heart if you experience temporary physical stress. For example, being pregnant may cause the problem.

Any condition that makes your heart pump harder than usual or damages the heart muscles can result in an enlarged heart. Cardiomegaly may be a sign of:

  • Hypertension
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Weak heart muscles
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Pericardial effusion (fluid around your heart)
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Iron build-up in your heart
  • Anemia

You may also be born with a structural heart condition that causes cardiomegaly.

What symptoms occur if I have an enlarged heart?

An enlarged heart doesn’t always cause symptoms, but when it does, you may experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (rapid, pounding, fluttering)
  • Swelling in your legs, ankles, and feet
  • Bloating in your abdomen
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing when lying down
  • Chest pressure or discomfort
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting

The underlying disease may progress slowly or rapidly, leading to symptoms that worsen at a similar pace.

How is an enlarged heart diagnosed?

Your provider completes diagnostic testing, including blood work and imaging such as an X-ray or MRI.

Additionally, your provider may perform:


An electrocardiogram records your heart's electrical activity, revealing abnormal heart rhythms and showing if you have muscle damage from a heart attack.


An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to create images of your heart, revealing detailed information such as the chamber size, muscle thickness and damage, fluid build-ups, and blood flow and blockages.

Stress testing

Stress testing reveals how well your heart pumps blood when exercise or medication forces it to work harder than usual.

Cardiac catheterization

Your provider guides a catheter through your blood vessels to your heart during cardiac catheterization. Once the catheter reaches your heart, they can:

  • Inject a dye and take X-rays
  • Check the pressure in each chamber
  • Take samples of blood and tissues
  • Look for valve defects
  • Evaluate the pumping action

Your provider can also perform procedures to open blockages and repair tissues.

How is an enlarged heart treated?

The only way to heal an enlarged heart is to treat the underlying health condition. To repair the underlying problem, you may need dietary and exercise recommendations, medications, a pacemaker, or a cardiac procedure.

If you develop symptoms of an enlarged heart, call HeartPlace or book an appointment online today.