Among the reasons that can contribute to the expansion of the left atrium are narrowing or insufficiency of the bicuspid valve. For example, with bicuspid valve prolapse, blood returns to the atrium when the left ventricle contracts through a loosely covered atrioventricular opening. Thus, the blood supply of the atrium during its relaxation phase occurs not only from the pulmonary veins, but also from the left ventricle.
The heart chamber suffers from excessive blood supply, at first, trying to cope with the load, it thickens, and when the reserve abilities are depleted, it expands, dilates. With stenosis, in contrast, blood cannot flow freely from the atrium, with its contraction, into the ventricle. The left atrium does not empty completely, remains half-full, and at this time a new portion of blood comes from the pulmonary veins – overfilling occurs, and as a result, the cavity expands.
In addition to stenosis and bicuspid valve insufficiency, an increase in the left atrium is observed with:
- heart defects
- severe physical exertion,
- complications of infectious diseases (viral, bacterial, fungal),
- intoxication with drugs or alcohol, chronic alcoholism,
- arterial hypertension
- tumors and tumor-like diseases,
- rupture of tendon chords,
- heart rhythm disturbances,
- autoimmune diseases
- some endocrine disorders,
- dilated cardiomyopathy.
After the blood from the upper left chamber got into the lower one, the valve connecting the vessels closes to prevent the blood from returning. In the event of a violation of this system, part of the blood may remain in the cavity of the left atrial chamber, a new portion is added to it, the walls of the chamber are stretched, the volume increases, and this already threatens complications and problems from the heart.
Expansion of the cavity, an increase in the volume of the left upper cardiac chamber is called dilatation of the left atrium (DLP). A person often does not even know what it is and does not feel any changes in the state, since the disease is almost always asymptomatic and is detected, as a rule, by chance, during the next general medical examination.
Specific signs that are common causes of this pathological condition are prolapse and mitral valve stenosis. In case of prolapse, the valve loosely closes the opening, and part of the blood flows back. If we are talking about stenosis, then the blood does not have the ability to freely flow from one part of the heart to another. Both states lead to overstretching of the chamber walls.
Dilatation of the left atrium develops for several reasons:
- constant overload of the body;
- immoderate nutrition;
- alcohol abuse;
- atrial and other types of arrhythmia;
- cicatricial changes in the heart;
- narrowing of the valve.
Often, the expansion of the muscular wall of the left atrium occurs as a result of narrowing of the valve. Blood does not pass well into a narrow hole. This phenomenon leads to heart overload. The blood enriched with oxygen, which comes from the right parts of the heart, hardly passes into the aorta, as a result, a person develops a slight expansion, after dilatation progresses.
The expansion of the muscle wall of both atria occurs more often due to:
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Other heart diseases.
- Automine pathologies.
- Violations of the human endocrine system.
Dilation (expansion) of the right departments, that is, the right atrium and ventricle, can occur against the background of lung diseases, such as bronchial asthma, pulmonary failure.
Just because an increase in the chambers of the heart does not occur, there are certain reasons.
Dilation of the right atrium appears due to an increase in pressure in the pulmonary circulation. The reasons for this are:
- myocardial disease infections;
- obstructive diseases of the lungs and bronchi;
- pulmonary hypertension;
- tricuspid stenosis.
Dilatation of the left atrium appears most often from all types of dilatations of the heart. The reason for this is a pathological decrease in the valve separating the left atrium and the left ventricle, through it the blood is distilled from one to the second part.
In the left atrium, blood sways from the left ventricle of the heart, and it also increases. An overload appears, the so-called tonogenic dilatation, and it becomes difficult for the heart to distill blood due to increased pressure in a large circle.
There is another position that stands out from the overall clinical picture – dilated cardiomyopathy. This is a special condition when there are no causes in the expansion of the left ventricle, and diseases are completely excluded.
- One reason is valve failure. This may be a consequence of rheumatism, bacterial endocarditis, pulmonary hypertension. As a result, the right ventricle is overloaded.
- Some patients have no pericardium since birth. This symptom can also be accompanied by a stretching of the muscle wall. Due to an atrial septal defect, the pulmonary artery expands. Increased pressure in this vessel indicates an increase in pressure in the chamber. As a result, stretching of the muscular walls of the pancreas.
- A pathology such as pulmonary heart also leads to pancreatic insufficiency and dilation. The root cause of the disease is obstructive bronchopulmonary disease and its increasing hypoxia.
- Enlargement of the pancreas is directly dependent on pulmonary hypertension.
- The pressure in the pulmonary artery may increase due to congenital heart defects, while pathology of the right ventricle of a different etiology develops. Ventricular hypertrophy in this case can be severe, however, it does not lead to pancreatic insufficiency.
- One of the causes of isolated dilatation of the right ventricle is arrhythmogenic dysplasia. The etiology of this disease is not exactly identified, it is congenital and is not accompanied by pulmonary hypertension, hypertrophy or pancreatic insufficiency. With this disease, the muscle layer of the pancreas is very thin. More common in male patients.
Classification and features
Tonogenic deformation develops under the influence of increased pressure in the chamber due to the increased amount of blood filling its cavity. Very often, this condition is accompanied by a pathological increase in the myocardium.
About myogenic it comes when there are actually myocardial diseases, – due to various heart diseases, the function of the contraction of the heart muscle weakens. Such dysfunction, as a rule, is already irreversible.
Unfortunately, there are no specific symptoms that define exactly DLP. Usually the disease is burdened by concomitant pathologies, or it is a concomitant sign of another disease. Therefore, experts talk about the insidiousness of dilatation – it can be both the cause and the result of violations in the operation of the CCC.
There are two types of atrial dilation:
- Tonogenic. It arises as a result of high pressure and the presence of a large volume of liquid in the chamber. Most often, this form is accompanied by myocardial hypertrophy.
- Myogenic. This type of change occurs due to a variety of heart diseases and leads to a weakening of the contractile function of the myocardium. Such deviations in the cavities are irreversible.
Most often, only one cardiac chamber undergoes an increase. The danger of this condition is the risk of developing arrhythmia or chronic heart failure.
The main function of the left atrium is the delivery of oxygen-enriched blood to the left ventricle. After that, it is pumped into the aorta and transported throughout the body. Between these departments there is a valve. If his work is disrupted, then dilatation of the cavity of the left atrium develops. As a result of this, the blood passes heavily through the narrowed opening, which causes the heart wall to be overloaded and stretched.
There are no specific symptoms with such changes. An important fact is that this disease is usually accompanied by other abnormalities in the work of the heart. Most often, patients complain of the occurrence of symptoms of arrhythmia and stenosis. They are manifested by shortness of breath, cyanosis or pallor of the skin.
Changes in the right atrium can occur with increased pressure in the blood vessels of the small (pulmonary) circle of blood circulation. Similar problems can also occur due to myocardial infection and pulmonary hypertension. Some heart defects can also lead to an increase in the volume of the right atrium.
To effectively treat this phenomenon, first of all, it is necessary to establish the cause and stop it. If this is not done on time, then hypertrophy and heart failure occur in the future.
The most common treatment is surgery. To achieve a positive result, medical correction of the underlying disease is required.
Moderate dilatation of the left heart is not accompanied by any symptoms. But with a strong expansion, the following symptoms already appear:
- change in heart rate;
- decreased ability to mental stress;
- constant feeling of weakness;
- swelling of the extremities.
People who engage in sports on a professional level or hard physical work have an expanded left atrium. This is considered normal and does not require treatment. Sometimes patients learn that the cameras are enlarged only at a routine examination and do not attach any importance to this, because they feel good.
If such a pathology continues to progress, then a person feels not only shortness of breath in a calm state, but also a cough, pain in the chest area, increased sweating and jumps in blood pressure.
The main reason for the expansion of the left atrium is narrowing or insufficiency of the valve. In this case, excessive blood supply leads to stress on the muscles and their further stretching. With stenosis, blood always remains in the cavity, and when a new portion arrives, then overfilling occurs, as a result of which the department gradually expands.
The reasons for the increase in the left atrium can be:
- excessive physical activity;
- infectious diseases;
- alcohol abuse;
- tumor neoplasms;
- rhythm disturbances;
- autoimmune diseases;
Atrial dilatation actively affects people with high blood pressure. The heart has to contract more, which leads to pathological muscle strain.
The expansion of the right atrium occurs against the background of the following factors:
- lung diseases;
- pulmonary spasms;
- hypertension of the lungs;
- some types of defects;
- constriction of the valve.
The growth of a particular part of the heart can occur due to inflammation of the heart muscle, which is a consequence of tonsillitis or scarlet fever. A variety of pathologies of infectious or fungal origin, as well as the intake of certain drugs can provoke the development of dilatation.
Dilation of both atria requires treatment, as it is a pathological change. It is selected based on the cause of the disease. The generally accepted treatment regimen includes the use of ACE inhibitors, antiplatelet agents, drugs to improve tissue metabolism and relieve symptoms associated with coronary heart disease.
In heart failure, the use of glycosides is required. Particular attention is paid to normalizing heart rate. To this end, beta-blockers may be prescribed to the patient.
Since dilatation is difficult to detect due to the absence of symptoms, drug therapy is not always able to eliminate the changes that may have an irreversible character. In this case, surgical intervention may be required. If it is not possible to perform the operation, the main goal of the treatment is to prevent the separation of the thrombus. For this, a combination of Digoxin, beta-blockers and Warfarin is used.
If ongoing transformations are ignored, they can cause heart failure or life-threatening arrhythmias. At the same time, the revealed pathology and its adequate treatment are not the key to success, but will stabilize the condition and improve the quality of life of the patient.
By eliminating the cause that triggered the problem, you can stop the progression of dilatation.
An integral part of therapy is prevention and regular examination by a cardiologist. A positive outcome is almost impossible without these measures.
To avoid serious heart health problems, you must:
- Maintain a healthy diet and eat healthy foods. The diet should be saturated with plant foods. It is recommended to eat lean meat, fish, seafood, cereals and various types of nuts. It is advisable to exclude fried, fatty foods, as well as foods with a high salt content from the diet.
- Exercise regularly with light exercise. It is best to increase the duration of walks in the fresh air, do morning exercises.
- Eliminate all bad habits. It is very important to completely abandon alcohol and cigarettes.
Compliance with diet, monitoring body weight, regular visits to the doctor and following his recommendations – all this will stop the pathological process and improve the quality of life during dilatation.
- Tonogenic dilatation. This type of expansion develops due to increased pressure in the chambers of the heart as a result of excessive blood supply. The muscular wall remains normal for some time.
- Myogenic dilatation appears with various changes in the heart muscle. This reduces the contractility of the myocardium.
The main signs of pathology
The disease at an early stage does not have its own symptoms. It can be diagnosed with a preventive examination by a cardiologist. At a late stage, the disease manifests itself with various signs that are similar to symptoms of heart failure.
Dilatation of the left atrium, symptoms:
- High fatigue.
- Heart rhythm disturbance.
- Extreme pallor of the skin.
Moderate dilatation is observed among athletes of high growth, their body is subjected to physical activity constantly, so a slight expansion is considered quite normal.
Moderate dilatation has no signs, with it there is only a very slight tachycardia during walking, with physical exertion and unrest. Cardiac dilatation has symptoms similar to heart failure. At the same time, it is impossible to detect special disorders that only atrial dilatation has.
Doctors may be suspected of having an arrhythmia on a full examination. Special attention should be paid to:
- for shortness of breath during conversation and movement;
- with auscultation, cardiac arrhythmia is present;
- swelling of the legs and feet.
In this case, patients with dilatation of the left atrium complain of:
- drowsiness, sudden weakness;
- decreased performance.
Symptoms of dilatation do not occur with moderate expansion. A retrospective analysis shows slight tachycardia when walking, worrying, or physical work. Signs of dilatation are clinically manifested by common symptoms of heart failure. It is impossible to detect patient-specific complaints or characteristic abnormalities upon examination of the patient.
The doctor should suspect atrial dilatation during registration of arrhythmia, a comprehensive examination. It is necessary to pay attention to:
- shortness of breath during movements, conversation;
- cardiac arrhythmias during auscultation;
- swelling on the feet and legs.
In complaints, patients talk about:
- the appearance of unclear weakness, drowsiness;
- rapid fatigue;
- reduced performance.
3How to recognize dilation?
The diagnosis of dilatation of the left atrium is established by the doctor after a complete diagnosis of the cardiovascular system and heart. In order to make a correct diagnosis, in addition to carefully collecting complaints and medical history, the doctor uses the following research methods:
- ECG – on the cardiogram, the signs of an increase in the left atrium are P wave, which becomes high, wide, “two-humped”, can have a jagged vertex shape in the leads: I, II, aVL, V5, V6, EOS is rejected to the left (or horizontal);
- X-ray diffraction pattern of the OGK – in the picture, the bulging of the left atrial ear can be visualized, the vascular pattern is strengthened, the trunk of the main left bronchus can be slightly shifted upwards;
- Echocardiography most accurately determines the dilatation of the chambers of the heart, the thickness of the myocardium, and the condition of the valves. To assess contractile function and determine the magnitude of the return flow of blood to the left atrium, echocardiography with doppler is performed.
Diagnosis of the disease
The first method for diagnosing dilatation of the left atrium is auscultation. It is carried out by a doctor, this is listening to the heart through a special tube. At the same time, they listen to sounds and noises that appear with a heartbeat.
When listening to the heart through a stethoscope, 2 types of sounds are distinguished – these are noises and tones. The noises are extended, and the tones are short and sharp. It is noises that indicate pathologies of the heart valves, which means that dilatation can be diagnosed by them.
Echocardiography is a study that allows you to visualize the heart. With it, you can see changes in the myocardium and heart valves. And also to determine the size of the organ and its cavities, the thickness of the walls, you can set the cardiac output, that is, its speed and quality.
Radiography allows you to determine the characteristic changes in the heart, that is, changes in its borders and size.
Using an electrocardiogram, you can diagnose a heart rhythm disturbance that accompanies dilatation. These are the main diagnostic methods, all others are assigned individually according to indications.
There are several methods that will help diagnose pathology at an early stage of development. If the disease is in a run-down form, then the doctor can diagnose dilatation (expansion) of the left atrium based on the symptoms described. To confirm the diagnosis, a number of additional examinations are necessary:
- Ultrasound of the heart;
- ECG (electrocardiogram);
Ultrasound examination of the cavity and chambers of the heart allows not only to identify the expansion of the muscle wall, but also to establish the causes of the pathology (heart attack, coronary artery disease). Ultrasound is considered the most accurate examination, the data obtained is enough to make a correct diagnosis.
Scintigraphy is a study that is carried out by introducing radioactive ions into the patient’s body. Doctors study the results that can be obtained based on the outgoing radiation. The examination has a number of contraindications, therefore it is carried out with the permission of a cardiologist.
The main method for diagnosing atrial dilatation is an ultrasound scan of the heart. It allows you to evaluate the volume of the heart chambers, the thickness of the walls of the myocardium and the features of their reduction, to identify possible pathology of the pericardium, blood clots in the cavities of the heart, signs of damage to the valvular apparatus. The data obtained during the study are compared with the norm taking into account the height and weight of the patient. The diagnosis of dilatation is made in the case of an increase in the volume of one or more heart chambers by more than 5%.
In the diagnosis of atrial dilatation, other instrumental methods are used:
- electrocardiography. It allows you to identify violations of the rhythm of contractions, as well as conduct differential diagnosis between the expansion of the atria and other heart diseases;
- radiography. Signs of dilatation are cardiomegaly (an increase in the size of the heart shadow), a spherical shape of the heart, symptoms of pulmonary hypertension, expansion of the roots of the lungs;
- angiocoronarography. It allows you to clarify the features of the structure of the heart, usually performed in order to choose the tactics of surgical treatment.
Atrial dilatation requires differential diagnosis with hereditary cardiomyopathies, myocarditis, coronary artery disease, congenital and acquired heart defects, stratified aneurysm.
In many cases, it is not possible to identify the cause of the development of atrial dilatation, and therefore treatment is aimed at combating chronic heart failure. For this purpose, patients are prescribed:
- beta blockers;
- antiarrhythmic drugs;
- ACE inhibitors;
- cardiac glycosides;
- antiplatelet agents.
With the ineffectiveness of conservative therapy for atrial dilatation and an increase in symptoms of chronic heart failure, the issue of surgical treatment is being addressed. It consists in the installation of a pacemaker, which improves hemodynamic processes.
In severe heart failure, the only treatment is heart transplantation. However, this operation is extremely rare due to the high cost and complexity.
A fairly common occurrence, when a small expansion of the heart is a literally random discovery. Ultrasound of the heart is now the best diagnostic method. The result shows the most important changes in the state of the main organ:
- camera size;
- how much the systolic and diastolic function of the heart ventricles is disturbed;
- whether there is damage to the valves;
- blood clots in the heart;
- pathology of the pericardium.
The survey results are compared with normal values by age, height and weight. For example, the normal diameter of the left ventricle is not more than 56 mm, but in tall and people in the body a small expansion will not become a defect. The diagnosis is made when the increase in several or all of the cameras at once is more than 5%.
Other diagnostic methods that will help identify pathology:
- ECG Separation of dilation and other diseases, reveals a type of heart rhythm disturbance.
- Roentgenography. It reveals signs inherent in cardiomegaly, an increase in heart cavities, if the case is severe – a spherical shape of the heart, an increase in the roots of the lungs, signs of pulmonary hypertension.
- Coronaroangiography. It is necessary to clarify the structure of the heart if surgical treatment is necessary.
- Diagnosis of any disease begins with an analysis of the patient’s complaints. As for myocardial dilatation, patient complaints of weakness, swelling, shortness of breath can indicate an advanced form of the disease when heart failure develops. Moderate dilation by a person is not felt.
- One of the diagnostic methods is ultrasound of the heart. With this method, not only the expanded parts of the heart are detected, but also some reasons for these changes: for example, a heart attack that is unnoticed by the patient. As a result of the study, the diameter of the LV is measured, which normally should not be more than 56 mm. Although there are quite physiological deviations: for example, in a high athlete, the size of the ventricle is slightly increased, and in a small woman, on the contrary, it is reduced. By the way, for such a woman, a diameter of 56 mm can be considered a dilatation. Echocardiography is considered the most informative method. Echoes of dilatation can reveal the size of the heart, determine contractility, valvular insufficiency, blood clots in the chambers of the heart, hypokinesia of the heart muscle, even with slight dilatation.
- Some changes in the heart can determine the ECG. However, for the diagnosis of dilatation of any cardiac chamber, this method is not sufficiently informative.
- To differentiate dilated cardiomyopathy with ischemic heart disease, scintigraphy is performed.
Methods of treatment
If the patient does not complain, no other diseases have been revealed from the cardiovascular, endocrine and other systems that can lead to dilatation, treatment is not indicated, it is enough to see a cardiologist and control Echocardiography at least 1 time per year. When identifying the cause leading to the expansion of the atrium, it is necessary to directly affect it.
If such causes are complications of infectious diseases leading to inflammation of the heart muscle and a change in its chambers – anti-infection treatment, if the reason is to change the valve apparatus – consult a cardiac surgeon about the advisability of replacing the valve, if dilatation occurs due to consistently high numbers of blood pressure – adequate antihypertensive therapy, if the cause of dilatation lies in endocrine disorders – treatment and normalization of the endocrine glands.
Eliminating the cause inhibits the progression of dilatation. Also, treatment should be aimed at eliminating the complications of the enlarged cavity of the left atrium, which include rhythm disturbances, heart failure, thromboembolism. With a tendency to the formation of blood clots, antiplatelet agents are prescribed, antiarrhythmogenic therapy is carried out when rhythm disturbances are detected. To improve nutrition, oxygenation of the myocardium is prescribed metabolic drugs.
The most common cause of left atrial dilatation is systolic dysfunction. This process is expressed in a decrease in the ability of the left ventricle to throw blood from its cavity into the aorta. As a result, dilatation of the left atrium causes an increase in the final systolic volume of the left ventricle.
In the event that such a compensatory reaction becomes untenable, secondary venous pulmonary hypertension may occur. Atrial dilatation in combination with pulmonary arterial hypertension increases the load on the right ventricle, the stroke volume of which decreases. An increase in diastolic pressure of the right atrium and ventricle causes venous hyperemia.
Dilation of the heart is an increase in the entire volume of the organ. The stretched myocardium becomes thinner, but if hypertrophy occurs, then these two processes cancel each other out. Papillary muscles of the cavity are also stretched, trabecular muscles are significantly flattened. Dilatation of the left atrium causes the expansion of the atrioventricular opening, which in some cases leads to functional failure. Due to stretching, the left ventricle begins to be pushed into the cavity of the right ventricle, as a result of which its volume decreases.
Dilatation of the left atrium in compensatory processes plays the same role as adaptations in a healthy heart. If a diseased heart does not have sufficient strength to overtake the right amount of blood, then by increasing the length of the fibers, it becomes able to perform this work.
However, this reduces the reserve power of the myocardium due to an increase in the amount of work and a large demand for oxygen. Persons with dilatation must observe a gentle regime, since any even the most insignificant work is carried out at the expense of the spare forces of the heart. Dilation is a fairly common syndrome and the cause of heart failure.
As a rule, dilation develops at a young age, more often in men. Clinical manifestations are expressed in the form of total heart failure, cardialgia, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, thromboembolism. The clinic of the disease is not specific. The patient may suddenly die due to the progression of heart failure or due to rhythm disturbances.
The main diagnostic method is echocardiography and scintigraphy. You can also get useful information using stress tests and differential diagnostics.
In the treatment of dilatation, exactly the same therapy is used as with heart failure, since etiotropic therapy is possible only with a known etiology. They recommend limiting fluid intake, adequate physical loads, and control of diuresis. It is strictly forbidden to take even small doses of alcohol.
With the development of cardiac cachexia, nutritional, that is, nutritional support, is of great importance. For drug treatment, beta-blockers are mainly used. The use of thiazide and loop diuretics is shown, while diuresis control is mandatory. In combination with diuretics, aldosterone antagonists are used.
The treatment of dilatation is to eliminate heart failure. In this case, it is not always possible to determine the true cause that provoked such a pathology.
In turn, such treatment can be medication and surgical.
Surgical treatment involves the installation of a pacemaker. This helps to significantly increase systolic ventricular function and hemodynamic processes.
Treatment should be directed towards eliminating the cause that led to the increase.
With bacterial inflammation of the endocardium, a course of antibiotics is prescribed, with defects, surgery is needed, and with autoimmune changes, glucocorticosteroids are drunk. If the source is not treated, but the consequences, then the risk of complications will remain, and life expectancy will not increase.
Often with this disease, you need to undergo additional therapy:
- the effects of tissue metabolism through medication;
- heart failure pills;
- anti-ischemic drugs;
- drugs for pressure;
- beta blockers and ACE inhibitors;
- glycosides for the heart;
- antiplatelet agents;
- remedies for arrhythmia.
Without medication, a diet is prescribed with a restriction of salt intake, with the exception of fatty, alcohol, smoking and exercise therapy.
In the most severe cases, when heart failure progresses, the only way out is organ transplantation.
Dilation should be treated when pathology is detected at different stages. With initial manifestations, the size of the atria can be returned to normal and serious consequences can be prevented.
Stretching the chambers requires the elimination of the underlying pathology (inflammation, hypertension, mechanical obstruction in malformation). Therefore, antibiotics, diuretics, glucocorticoids, antihypertensive drugs, surgical correction may be required.
The presence of heart failure is treated with cardiac glycosides.
Much attention is paid to restoring the correct rhythm. For this, antiarrhythmic drugs (β-blockers) are used. In the absence of a therapeutic effect, methods of exposure to cold (cryoapplication), incisions and cutting off the left atrium from the right, other types of surgery with the simultaneous elimination of the defect are used.
If surgical treatment is not possible, the result is achieved by a combination of Digoxin, small doses of beta-blockers on the background of taking Warfarin to prevent separation of the thrombus.
The following should be included in dilatation therapy:
- tissue metabolism enhancers;
- drugs to relieve ischemic changes in the vessels;
- ACE inhibitors;
- antiplatelet agents.
Atrial dilatation should be considered as part of the general pathology of the heart, as well as the influence of other factors requiring myocardial overload.
Methods of therapy
There are several treatment options that can help cope with the signs of dilatation (expansion) of the left atrium:
- Drug therapy.
- Surgical intervention.
- Treatment of the underlying disease.
If the disease appeared against a background of another pathology, then therapy aimed at eliminating the underlying disease. Treatment is carried out under the supervision of several specialists, while the patient must constantly be monitored by a cardiologist. The doctor controls the process of changing the wall of the left atrium.
If the cause of the appearance of dilatation is cicatricial changes in the heart, then it is worthwhile to carefully monitor the patient’s condition and monitor the process of tissue scarring. Taking medications is aimed at reducing the intensity of the process.
Surgery is often performed with expansion of the right cavity and the chambers of the heart (ventricle and atrium). The operation is performed if there is evidence, if the disease is accompanied by acute symptoms, then heart transplantation is required.
Dilation does not always require treatment; in some cases, it is enough to monitor the patient and monitor the process of expansion of the atrial muscle wall. In any case, the decision on the need for drug or other therapy is made by a cardiologist. Treatment can be aimed at reducing stress and restoring the patient’s well-being.
Manifestations and diagnostic procedures
Very often, dilatation is found in people who are professionally involved in sports or hard physical labor. In this case, patients have no complaints about well-being. This phenomenon is called a “trained heart” in medicine. Due to regular loads, all its chambers expand, and the walls thicken.
The characteristic symptoms of this pathology are:
- respiratory disorders – shortness of breath, which appears even in a calm state;
- coughing, sometimes even with blood;
- pressing pains in the chest area;
- heart rhythm disturbances;
- weakness in all parts of the body;
- excessive sweating;
- blue skin in the region of the nasolabial triangle;
- swelling of the lower extremities.
With the appearance of all these symptoms, the patient’s condition is usually already very serious and requires urgent hospitalization. After all, there is a threat of serious complications. An enlarged heart chamber with further progression can cause malfunctions of the heart and lead to the following diseases:
- heart muscle and bicuspid valve insufficiency;
- non-synchronous operation of the heart (fibrillation);
- heart rhythm disturbance;
- thrombosis and thromboembolism;
- myocardial infectious diseases.
But talking about a diagnosis based on symptoms alone would be wrong. And in order not to be mistaken, the doctor prescribes additional studies:
- electrocardiogram – when decoding for dilatation, the configuration of the P wave in the leads I, II, aVL, V5, V6, EOS is horizontal or with a deviation to the left side;
- echocardiogram – a method with which you can most accurately diagnose an increase in the atria or ventricles, as well as the thickness of the heart muscle and find out in what condition the valves are;
- echocardiogram with doppler – is used to evaluate the function of contractions and determine the amount of blood that is thrown back;
- X-ray examination – in the picture you can see the protrusion of the ear of the left atrium, enhanced visualization of the vascular network, the left bronchial trunk may be slightly shifted upward.
Consequences and complications
If it is possible to eliminate the cause of dilatation of the atria, then their volume may gradually decrease and return to normal values. In all other cases, the chambers of the heart gradually increase in volume, which leads to increasing heart failure.
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There are several prevention methods that will help prevent the development of the disease, they include:
- proper nutrition;
- refusal to use alcohol and tobacco;
- moderate physical activity;
- visit to the cardiologist.
It is necessary to monitor nutrition, refuse foods that are rich in cholesterol and unhealthy fats. Limit or completely eliminate alcohol and tobacco, since nicotine and alcohol negatively affect the human heart and blood vessels.
It is worth avoiding overvoltages of a physical nature, evenly distributing loads and rest. Preference should be given to calm sports.
Dilation (expansion) of the left atrium is a pathological process that can lead to heart failure. It is difficult to diagnose the disease at an early stage of development. It is necessary to regularly visit a cardiologist, undergo a series of diagnostic examinations, carefully monitor the condition of the heart and blood vessels throughout life.
Prevention of the development of atrial dilatation consists in measures aimed at preventing the development of diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. These include:
- balanced diet;
- quitting alcohol abuse and smoking;
- compliance with the regime of work and rest;
- regular moderate physical activity.
Congenital pathologies and acquired ones lead to dilatation. But prevention can both prevent the disease and stop its development. To do this, you must follow the simplest rules:
- stop smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol;
- Do not overeat;
- Do not overwork and avoid nervous overload.
Both congenital and acquired pathologies lead to dilatation of arteries and chambers of the heart. However, there are some simple rules, following which you can prevent or stabilize the disease:
- Quitting smoking and excessive drinking;
- Moderate nutrition;
- Prevention of physical overwork and nervous overload.