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What are the risk of having an enlarged heart or other cardiac conditions for a taller males?

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Do taller males have an increased risk for having an enlarged heart or other cardiac conditions?
Posted Mon, 30 Jul 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 43 minutes later
Hi there,
Thanks for writing in.
I am a qualified and certified cardiologist. I read your question with diligence.
Taller males do not have large hearts unless they are suffering from disease like acromegaly (a pituitary gland condition)

In developed countries congenital heart disease patient kids -those who need surgical correction or device implantation- are "cured" before they have to gain height to be attributable to congenital heart disease. In developing countries, many adolescent cases of congenital heart diseases both cyanotic (blue babies) and acyanotic (non blue) congenital heart disease are seen. Therefore, comments are skewed in favor of countries where tall individuals/males and congenital heart disease are seen in enough numbers to make a comment.

To give one line answer to the posed question answer will be no. However, there is a caveat. Congenital heart disease is of two major types Cyanotic and Acyanotic. Among the cyanotic some are very sick and whatever is done they can not be saved (one example is hypoplastic Acyanotic heart disease, severe cases who need surgical treatment or device closure of hole in the heart they have, have repeated chest infections. This leads to failure to thrive. So their weight is decreased where as height is normal. Therefore, even after surgery these children are taller and weight is less comparatively.

There is one more association, that is marfan's syndrome. Usually tall person, develop dissection of aorta and aortic regurgitation (valve leakage) but this is counted as acquired heart disease.

I hope this answer is useful but a little confusing. So if there is followup query, I can clarify happily as soon as possible for their must be some reason for this question arose in first place.

With Best Wishes
Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What are the risk of having an enlarged heart or other cardiac conditions for a taller males? 3 hours later
The question arose because my sister's boyfriend passed away a few years ago and i was thinking about him. He was a 23 year college athlete and very healthy. It happened in his sleep and they determined that it as an undetectable heart condition. As comfort they said, his heart was just big because he loved life so much. But, it was explained that being 6ft 7in his heart was enlarged because it had to work harder to supply blood to the rest of the body.

I had a few athlete friends of mine pass away in high school with similar stories. In fact, one of the boys parents started a program and now each athlete from that school gets and EKG before starting sports because that was the only way that they would have ever known that their son had a heart condition and they didn't want that to happen to another young person.

Which brings me to the question from last night. My husband is 6ft 7in and 28 years old. I worry that he might have an underlying heart condition that has been undetected in normal physicals. He brushes it off that I am just worrying too much, but I can't help but wonder what really causes these otherwise healthy, tall athletic boys to have heart problems and pass at such a young age.
Answered by Dr. Anil Grover 5 hours later
Hi there,
Thanks for writing back,
Now I precisely know what you are talking about.
There is a condition called Athletic Heart Syndrome. Which can not be exactly said congenital heart disease. But surely it is heart disease seen in athletes of heavy duty supports (at times manual laborers also) it can be diagnosed by echocardiography and changes are reversible to an extent after leaving the support.

Like any other muscle, the heart gets stronger with exercise. Athletic Heart Syndrome is a combination of structural and functional changes that occur in the heart of people who train more than an hour on most days. Signs include sinus bradycardia (a resting heart rate of fewer than 60 beats per minute), a systolic murmur, and extra heart sounds. ECG abnormalities are common. No treatment is necessary but it must be distinguished from serious cardiac disorders. During intensive, prolonged endurance- and strength-training, the body signals the heart to pump more blood through the body to counteract the oxygen deficit building in the skeletal muscles.

Enlargement of the heart is a natural physical adaptation of the body to deal with the high pressures and large amounts of blood that can affect the heart during these periods of time. After time, these pressures cause the muscle mass, wall thickness, and chamber size of the left ventricle of the heart to increase. Cardiac output, the amount of blood that leaves the heart, is proportional to both the chamber sizes of the heart and the rate at which the heart beats. With a larger left ventricle, the heart rate can decrease and still maintain a level of cardiac output necessary for the body. Therefore, it is very common for athletes to have lower resting heart rates than nonathletes. My resting heart rate is 45.

About 125 athletes under 35 involved in organized sports die of sudden death in the United States each year, according to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. The institute tracks such deaths in a national registry. An analysis of 387 cases from the registry showed the vast majority were cardiac-related. About a quarter involved a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes an enlarged heart. About 20 percent were from a blow to the chest, such as being hit by a bat or ball. So in 80% cases the Death is Sudden, without any immediate precipitating cause. This could be the situation in your mom's boy friends and other tall boys you are talking about.

You need not worry at all about Athlete Heart Syndrome as I wrote, it can has enough diagnostic markers apart from being an athlete and tall, on EKG and echocardiography that it can be diagnosed, Even the similar condition Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy which behaves in almost similar fashion can also be diagnosed and treated.

I hope this is the answer you are looking for. If you have further query, please write I will answer asap. Regards.

With Best Wishes
Dr Anil Grover,
M.B.;B.S, M.D. (Internal Medicine) D.M.(Cardiology)
http://www/ WWW.WWWW.WW
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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