Search our website Find job opportunies at THI and St. Luke's Find a doctor location and contact information
Heart Information Center
Ask a Heart Doctor
  Back to previous page


Help us improve this service.

Your feedback will help guide us in developing this site.

Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor 
Informed patients make better patients.


What is meant by 'a heart that has shifted sideways'?

My wife said her doctor told her that her heart was shifted sideways? What does this mean? 

submitted by Dale from Illinois on 12/10/2011


by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Benjamin Y. Cheong, MD    

Benjamin Y. Cheong, MDThere are a lot of causes for "heart shifted sideways", thus it is wise to ask your doctor more specifically what he/she meant by this. For normal anatomy of the heart, approximately 2/3 of the heart is in the left side of the chest, and 1/3 of the heart is in the right side.  However, the majority of the time, it is just a common/incidental finding without any clinical consequence.

Other potential causes include: 1. Pathology in left or right lung that can cause the heart to shift position; 2. Absence of the lining of the heart (pericardium) can cause the heart to shift toward the left chest; 3. Prior surgery in the chest can cause deviation of the heart position; 4. Position of the heart can also be affected by organs in the abdomen, e.g., a large hernia.

The best action is to discuss with your doctor in more detail.  If it is a finding by chance, and the patient has NO symptoms at all, most likely no further action is needed.  An echocardiography of the heart (ultrasound) or a CT scan could also provide further information, if warranted in an appropriate clinical situation. 

Hope the above helps.         

See also on this site:   

Has your question or a similar one already been answered?

Search all the Heart Doctor questions and answers.

To search for a doctor or access St. Luke's physician referral service, use the "Find a Doctor" link at the top of this page.

Updated December 2011
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to us on YouTube Find Us on Flicikr Follow Us on Pinterest Add us on Google+ Find us on LinkedIn 

Please contact our Webmaster with questions or comments.
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
© Copyright Texas Heart Institute
All rights reserved.