Medical Q&As

Large heart - normal?

My son has been told that he has a large heart following a chest x-ray. He is 25 years of age. What does this mean for him health wise?

The comment that your son has a large heart may not be of any pathological significance at all. Furthermore it may not have implications with regard to his future health. When a chest x-ray is taken the heart appears as an area of shadowing centrally located in the chest between the two lungs. The maximum width of the heart on the x-ray is referred to as the transverse diameter of the heart. Normally this measurement should not normally exceed 50% of the transverse diameter of the chest as displayed on the x-ray. It is not clear from your question if the comment about a large heart was contained within a formal x-ray report or whether the comment was made casually. If it was contained within a formal report then it is important to establish that the heart is normal. Furthermore if there is genuine concern that the heart is abnormally large the state of health of the heart can be established relatively easily. However, it is possible to have a large heart and yet cardiac function can be absolutely normal. On the other hand the comment about the large heart may have been casual and the diameter may not have been precisely measured, in which case you can safely disregard the comment.