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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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
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