Left Atrial Enlargement: What Causes It and How Is It Treated

What causes left atrial enlargement?

The cause of left atrial enlargement is not fully understood. There are several theories about its origin. One theory says that the heart muscle cells become damaged due to a virus or other disease, which results in the heart muscle cell’s death. Another theory suggests that it may be caused by a genetic defect in the heart muscle cells. A third theory suggests that it may be caused by a tumor or cancer in the heart muscle cells.

How is left atrial enlargement treated?

Left atrial enlargement is usually treated with medications. However, there are some cases where surgery is recommended to remove the enlarged heart muscle cells. Surgery for left atrial enlargement involves removing the enlarged heart muscle cells and replacing them with healthy ones.

Does left atrial enlargement have any side effects?

There are no known long term consequences of left atrial enlargement. However, there is a risk of developing high blood pressure after the procedure. If you already suffer from hypertension, your condition will worsen during the operation. You should consult your doctor before having the operation if you are over 40 years old or have pre-existing hypertension conditions such as angina pectoris (chest pain) or coronary artery disease.

How common is left atrial enlargement?

Enlarged left atrium is not a very common condition, but it is seen in people over the age of 40 years.

Does left atrial enlargement have any symptoms?

A significant enlargement of the left atrium is usually symptomless. In some cases you may experience some minor disturbances, such as shortness of breath, chest pain or fatigue.

Will left atrial enlargement increase my risk of developing cardiovascular disease?

The relationship between left atrial enlargement and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease is not fully understood.

What is the connection between left atrial enlargement and high blood pressure?

Usually left atrial enlargement occurs due to high blood pressure. It can also occur due to another condition, called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle becomes thicker than normal.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Changes in left atrial size in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation: a prospective echocardiographic study with a 5-year follow-up period by B Wożakowska-Kapłon – International journal of cardiology, 2005 – Elsevier

Atrial enlargement as a consequence of atrial fibrillation. A prospective echocardiographic study. by AJ Sanfilippo, VM Abascal, M Sheehan, LB Oertel… – Circulation, 1990 – Am Heart Assoc

Beyond Ortner’s syndrome-Unusual pulmonary complications of the giant left atrium by GC Phua, PCT Eng, SL Lim, YL Chua – … -ACADEMY OF MEDICINE …, 2005 – annals.edu.sg

Prevalence and correlates of left atrial enlargement in essential hypertension: role of ventricular geometry and the metabolic syndrome: the Evaluation of Target Organ … by C Cuspidi, S Meani, V Fusi, C Valerio… – Journal of …, 2005 – journals.lww.com

Left atrial size is a potent predictor of mortality in mitral regurgitation due to flail leaflets: results from a large international multicenter study by D Rusinaru, C Tribouilloy, F Grigioni… – Circulation …, 2011 – Am Heart Assoc

Mechanistic insights into atrial functional mitral regurgitation: far more complicated than just left atrial remodeling by JJ Silbiger – Echocardiography, 2019 – Wiley Online Library