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.

Question:

Can one's position while having an EKG cause the heart to appear partially enlarged? 

Is it possible the way the heart is lying that with an EKG, it may appear one side is larger but is not? 

submitted by Melissa from Ft. Worth, Texas on 5/18/2013

Answer:

by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Scott R. Sherron, MD  Scott R. Sherron, MD

It is definitely true that the orientation of your heart in your chest can affect the "axis" on the ECG tracing and can lead to a tracing that appears to indicate an enlarged heart relative to a 'normal' tracing. For example, a more vertically oriented heart will have more of the electrical force (vector) pointing rightward and imply right ventricular enlargement. The best test to assess the size of the heart is echocardiography, an ultrasound of the heart. It is simple and non-invasive, inexpensive and usually available in a cardiologist's office. Also, the relative thickness of the chest wall and a patient's age can lead to ECG criteria that can falsely suggest left ventricular enlargement or hypertrophy. Hope this is helpful. 

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 May 2013
Top  
Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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+

Please contact our Webmaster with questions or comments.
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
© Copyright 1996-2014 Texas Heart Institute.
All rights reserved.
This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. U.S. NEWS America's Best Hospitals 2013-14