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Question:

Is my severely enlarged left atrium a result of my pregnancy? 

Hello, I'm a 30 year old, extremely frightened female. I had an echo done a little over a month ago and was only told that I had severely enlarged left atrium and mild enlarged right atrium, could be caused by my pregnancy (8 months at the time) and could return to normal. However, looking over my summary, I happened to see a few other things that seemed concerning. One of which stated that "There is mild aortic valve sclerosis". This is what has me frightened because I see no good from this, from what I see, all this leads to is trouble. Why would my cardiologist not mention this at all and just say my findings were I have a stiff heart and it's safe? I feel extremely upset and I've read reports on this that really most everyone develops stenosis which only takes 8 years to develop, then surgery or worse before that. I also read it occurs in people a lot older than myself. I'm very worried. I have 4 children now and this has put me into somewhat of a depressive state. Thank you. 

submitted by Charity from Virginia 6/30/2013

Answer:

Raymond F. Stainback, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Raymond F. Stainback, MD    

I would recommend a follow up discussion with the doctor at a later time after normal pregnancy changes (increased blood volumes and cardiac output) have resolved. Left atrial volumes may be normally increased in pregnancy and there are no "normal" values for a pregnant patient. Most cases of aortic valve sclerosis (if present) do not progress to aortic stenosis. There is likely no cause for concern but a clarification from the doctor may be helpful.

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Updated July 2013
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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.
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