British Heart Foundation
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Diagnosed with enlarged heart and left ventricle isn't working properly

I have recently found out my heart is enlarged. I have poor flow of my left ventricle. I get very tired and breathless. As of yet no reason has been found as a course of it. I don't have chest pain. Has anyone else been diagnosed and no reason found?

I am having more tests but even my GP finds it strange I don't get chest pain.

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Hi. You are not the only one with those symptoms. I was taken to hospital after collapsing in the car park at my work at the end of may. I struggled to breathe and couldn’t walk without help. Heart monitor attached by the ambulance crew showed I had a heart rate of 210. Not good. I couldn’t feel it beating that fast. It hit 240 on the way to the hospital. Both left and right ventricles are enlarged. An echocardiogram showed my EF was only 7.4%. An angiogram showed normal arteries. After 8 days and over 100 tablets and injections I was allowed home. It took 12 days to knock the heart rate back down to regular beats. A cardiac MRI scan 3 weeks later showed an improvement. I’m now taking 7 tablets a day, down from 13. I will have a 48 hour ecg monitor fitted Thursday morning. I averaged 4 pints of beer a month, never smoked or taken drugs. The doctors are still trying to work out the reason why it happened. No luck so far. I think I fall into the “it just happened to you” group.

I don’t like not knowing why but I may just have to accept it.

Hopefully we both get answers.

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Richard - I just had to say I feel for you both. My EF is 28 and I know how bad that makes me feel. 7.4% is the lowest I have heard off.

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Hi. Thank you for your reply. The drugs are working wonders on me. Latest test shows EF up to 36%. Side effects are not so good. Results of the ECG could save me from having an ICD fitted. One cardiologist says I’m borderline moderate/severe heart failure and if ECG is ok I wouldn’t get an ICD. I’d still need to see the consultant and he would have the final say. No family history or any issues before have the doctors concerned it could happen again.

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Hi Richard. It's great that your heart has responded so well to medication. I have an ICD and I was terrified about it beforehand, but it's actually great, no real downsides at all. Hopefully it won't come to that for you, but if it does, it really won't be as bad as you're thinking, so do try not to spend time worrying about it. Good luck :)

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Hi Lebs54. I have heart failure and LVSD and nobody knows why for me either. I was diagnosed while I was pregnant so they thought initially that it was peripartum (spelling?) cardiomyopathy, but once I had an MRI, the damage to my heart wasn't consistent with that. I have a great big scar in one area of my heart and absolutely no idea how long it's been there or what caused it. I do find this really frustrating and am always looking for clues in my past. My latest theory is that it was caused by my being strangled by the umbilical cord when I was born (my mum tells me I used to turn blue across my nose every time she lay me down flat as a baby) but who knows? It is annoying that there's no way to find out, but nowadays I'm of the mindset that it's a good thing it's been picked up so I can receive treatment. I could have been struggling on for years putting more and more strain on my heart.

I have never experienced chest pains with my condition and it was only spotted because a nurse noticed my pulse was a bit irregular during a prenatal check-up. I was breathless and tired but just put this down to pregnancy. Before that, I put it down to not being fit enough, even though I was a lot more active than many very fit and energetic people. I think symptoms are often more obvious in hindsight. I know my consultant and GP are surprised by how much I can do when my heart is in such bad shape. I sometimes wonder if I'm just so used to feeling crap that it has become "normal" for me.

You will no doubt keep wondering about the cause of this, but I would try to focus your attention on treatment, look forwards rather than back. Whatever the cause, you can't change the past, but a positive attitude will make the future much easier.

Lots of luck with it all x

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Thank you for your reply. Wise words and I will do as you say. Life's too short xx

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