Left Atrium Enlargement

Hi Everyone - hope you are all well.

Had my heart scan today - slight leak on one valve but considered "normal", nothing to worry about and no treatment required :-)

However they found left atrium enlargement but cannot say if the AF caused it or it caused the AF. Also had to have an ECG as I was in AF at the time of the scan.

Still waiting for the 24 hour heart monitor and appointment with EP. Still on the bisoprolol, digoxin and warfarin.

Now sat at home with my brain going into overdrive but know that many of you will help me work things out - and for that I am very thankful.

What is the treatment for left atrium enlargement? Will it ever shrink back?

Are my chances of a stroke increased? Should I be asking any other questions?.............

8 Replies

  • Sharon, Although there is really no way to tell for sure... I would think that the enlargement is due to having an AF attack. This has been seen in many patients because the atria are being overworked. Most report that it will decrease in size. Although some studies show that frequent AF attacks over a long period can cause the atria to enlarge, atria walls thicken and cause other heart problems down the road.

    Since you have a current ECG during an AF attack I don't see the need for the 24 hour monitoring... They already know it's happening which is the reason for the monitor so why do they need it? The monitor can't tell them even close to as much as the ECG that they already have.

    The best treatment for your atria would be to stop the AF. Although I can't really say for sure, The atria should return to normal size. The enlarged atria should not increase you chances for stroke. My main question I would be asking is "why haven't I seen an EP yet"? The sonner you get in there the faster you will have a treatment plan. Whether it is rate control, rhythm control or a procedure having the right treatment plan will make you feel better.

    Keep us up on what's going on...


  • I agree with that Tim. Normally left atrial enlargement is due to the AF except in endurance athletes where it is the other way round. Return to NSR would usually allow the atria to return to normal but I have learned over the years that we are all different and there is no one size fits all solution.


  • Hi Sharon,

    I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and AF in 2002.

    DCM is a generic name for conditions that include an enlarged atrium.

    My consultant wasn't willing to say whether the AF caused the DCM or vice versa, put in the end gave a diagnosis of a probable viral infection of the heart muscle, though there was no specific evidence of this.

    Anyway 13 years on with exercise and drug therapy the DCM has almost disappeared (I have a still have a slightly enlarged atrium), but I am left with AF although for a few years it was able to be reversed with drugs (amiodarone)

    As a rule of thumb my consultant at Harefield said that in cases of DCM that he had seen, if the heart enlarged by up to 50% then it normally recovered through drug and exercise therapy - hopefully this is the case with you


  • Hi I've been recently diagnosed with left atrium enlargement which they say has been caused by years of af I never knew I was having....although I dont know how they work that one out...my last previous episodes were 2004/5. Im only on flecanide so can't comment on other drugs I was told by a cardiac nurse mine will never go back to normal...I'm due to see cardiac electro physiologist in a couple of weeks time...my heart is also considered structurally normal...and pumps well....I too have no idea what this all means for me either..but I don't want to be pushed forward for ablation therapy if I don't need it...and this concerns me.....

  • I believe a 24 hour ECG monitor reveals any little AF sessions or rhythm peculiarities that are not noticeable rather than demonstrating full blown AF.

  • I have an enlarged LA but I also have a (corrected) congenital heart condition and structural heart abnormality. No one has said whether the LA enlargement caused AF or whether it was the other way round. However, cardiologist said that she wants me on anticoagulation for life because of the enlargement, even though I am low risk for stroke overall and my heart is pumping normally.

  • Hi there How are you feeling now? Am in the same situation as you

  • What does EP means ?

You may also like...