Dr Manny's Notes

What is an enlarged heart?

Q&A with Dr. Manny: My dad's doctor told him that he had an enlarged heart at his last appointment. What does that mean?


Did you know that your heart pumps about 1.5 million gallons of blood during your lifetime? That’s a lot of work for an organ that is no larger than your fist.

We recently received this question from a viewer:

Q: My dad's doctor told him that he has an enlarged heart at his last appointment. What does that mean?

The answer: It’s known as cardiomegaly, and it’s often a sign of an underlying problem.

“An enlarged heart is a general term that refers to the pumping chamber of your heart,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health. “There are several conditions that can cause an enlarged heart and those include untreated high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.”

Some people with an enlarged heart will not have any symptoms. But others may experience:

- Shortness of breath

- Dizziness

- Irregular heart beat

- Swelling

- Cough

- Chest pain

Symptoms involving the heart should always be taken seriously, so if you have any, you should call your doctor immediately. The best way to find out if you have an enlarged heart is by getting an echocardiogram or an ultrasound.

If you have a question for Dr. Manny, e-mail him at DrManny@foxnews.com.


Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.