Right Atrial Enlargement?

by FranEMTnurse FranEMTnurse, CNA, LPN, EMT-I Member Nurse Retired

Specializes in LTC, CPR instructor, First aid instructor.. Has 25 years experience.

I had an EKG yesterday, and was told the result is an enlargement ofthe right atrium.

I was born underweight and anemic. I outgrew it during my childhood, but was always susceptible to various illnesses.

Then in 2001, I suffered a PE that nearly killed me. The cause was Prednisone. As time progressed, and still being on the Prednisone, I developed Steroid Induced Myopathy. I eventually recovered from that, but have suffered a lot of right sided chest pain that feels like I'm being skewered through with a sword.

I had pneumonia x 4 in 2002, and was diagnosed with Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis. I went into respiratory failure twice, and had CHF with septicemia once. The iron deficiency anemia returned, and I had to have 2 units of blood infused before being discharged. I will now have to take concentrated iron twice a day for the rest of my life.

My old physician ordered my oxygen to be titrated down too fast after I was weaned from the ventilator, and I suffered a small stroke from which I eventually recovered, with the exception of some right sided weakness

I know CHF affects the right side of the heart. My question is; can it enlarge the right atrium?

My reason for asking, is because I have had an arrhythmia recently, and was placed on a monitor. It caught the arrhythmia, and I had an EKG which read an enlarged right atrium. What causes this?

I now have to see a cardiologist to get an echocardiogram.

My physician put me on my calcium channel blocker twice a day, lowered my dosage of lung medication, and put me on another one.

Any info I can receive will be helpful. I have only been able to find Left ventricular hypertrophy which I have had for several years.

If it would be helpful, I am on 3 litres of oxygen 24/7, as well as 2 inhalers.

I also had a tachy heartrate of 135 BPM, and felt like my heart was going to jump out of my body, and had hemoptysis of two and a half litres of coffee ground blood about 2 years ago.

My feet turn black, but I don't have diabetes. I believe it has to do with the pulmonary hypertension I also have. I was diagnosed with that by my pulmonologist during the past episode.


Specializes in Trauma,ER,CCU/OHU/Nsg Ed/Nsg Research. Has 15 years experience. 3,778 Posts

Fran- what kind of Arrhythmia did you have- do you know specifically? Sometimes, left sided heart failure can extend to the right, but RA enlargement can also occur with regurgitation, tricuspid valve problem, or with something like untreated A-fib.

Here is a link with a list of info for you. I haven't looked at any of them yet, but it's emedicine.com, so it's reputable:


I hope you feel better soon. Please take care of yourself, and let us know how your echo turns out. We love you, Fran!


traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 30 years experience. 164 Articles; 21,143 Posts

Fran - I am so sorry to hear about this turn of events. I'll be honest though and we are just not the folks to give you advice. You have had so many medical issues and we want the best care and I think we would just muddy the water with more info when we are not your providers.

Take care of yourself....

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