“How Big Can A Dilated Heart Get From Stenosis?” Asks Julie
By Adam Pick on August 25, 2010
Here’s an interesting question from Julie about heart valve stenosis and enlarged hearts.
Julie writes to me, “Adam – Like you, I was diagnosed with heart valve stenosis and an enlarged heart. I’m just curious. How big can a dilated heart get before failure? 20% bigger? 50% bigger? Any thoughts? Thanks, Julie”
I wanted an expert opinion for Julie’s question, so I contacted Dr. Kevin Accola, M.D., one of the leading heart valve surgeons from Florida Hospital Cardiovascular Institute. (As you might recall, Dr. Accola has operated on several patients, like Scott Nieman, that regularly visit this blog.)
Here is Dr. Accola’s response:
Cardiac size per se is very dependent on numerous patient factors including the size of the patient, the severity of aortic stenosis and other cardiac factors such as coronary artery disease. So, it is not so much the interval change in size that would determine failure, but rather the underlying cause of the enlargement – in this case the aortic stenosis. If the heart is beginning to compensate by enlarging, I typically recommend aortic valve replacement to allow the heart a better chance of returning to normal size.
I hope Dr. Accola’s comments help all of us learn more about enlarged hearts. So you know, this condition is medically referred to as dilated cardiomyopathy. According to the Texas Heart Institute, it is one of the most common forms of heart muscle disease. One of the key risks of dilated cardiomyopathy is congestive heart failure.
Thanks to Julie for emailing me her question and thanks to Dr. Accola for sharing his clinical expertise!
Keep on tickin!