How can borderline cardiomegaly be treated?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I was diagnosed with borderline cardiomegaly. What treatment can I do to be in normal status? What's the next test should I take to confirm the diagnosis? I already had EKG done. I am feeling chest pain, numbness and shortness of breath most of the time.

Expert Answer

Carolyn Strimike, N.P. and Margie Latrella, N.P. are cardiac nurse practitioners specializing in the prevention of heart disease and stroke. They have over 40 years of nursing experience in Cardiology between them. The main goal of their work is to counsel, motivate and empower women to adopt healthy lifestyle choices.

Cardiomegaly is an enlargement of the heart. Some of the common causes of cardiomegaly are: a virus, previous heart attack, inflammation, medications, uncontrolled high blood pressure and excessive exercise. Common symptoms of cardiomegaly include: difficulty breathing, dizziness, and the quickening or the slowing of one's pulse rate, and swelling of the ankles and legs. A chest x-ray and ECG are usually the initial tests but an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) can provide a lot more information about the heart muscle. If you are experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath a nuclear stress test should also be performed to make sure you do not have any narrowings in the heart arteries. Cardiomegaly treament depends on the cause but there are medications that can help prevent any further enlargement of the heart muscle. Controlling your blood pressure (avoiding excessive salt/sodium)and weight control are also important as is a regular exercise program (but you should discuss what type of exercise with your physician). We would recommend that you see a cardiologist if you have not already and they should be able to help guide you to the appropriate treatments. This is something you can control with the help of your healthcare provider.