Left Atrial Abnormality

An Easy Explanation Of A Left Atrial Abnormality

Left atrial abnormality is a term referring to the presence of a dilation or atrial hypertrophy or both.  The left depolarization is what contributes to the terminal and middle parts of the P wave.  If this happens to be delayed, it may extend the P wave duration.

When you have an electrocardiograms (EKG) performed, the left atrial abnormality is the finding that it displays.  This typically suggests that you have an enlarged atrium which is the chamber that receives the vital blood that is coming from the lungs.

There are few reasons why you could be showing a left atrial abnormality on your EKG such as high blood pressure, left-sided heart failure and mitral valve disease.

Mitral Valve Disease

This is a heart disorder in which your mitral valve is not closing the way that it should when your heart is pumping out blood.  The left ventricle is abnormally leaking blood through the valve and into your left atrium.  Then, when the ventricle contracts, it regurgitates blood back into your left atrium, which is definitely a cause for concern.

If the regurgitation slowly develops over months or years, you will enter into the chronic phase of the disease.  Here, the left ventricle develops hypertrophy to manage the increased stroke volume.  This eventually causes an enlargement of the left atrium chamber which allows the pressure to actually decrease.  The drainage then is improved from the veins.  Individuals in this state can traditionally partake in normal exercises without any concerns until the condition progresses and worsens.

Symptoms and signs that are associated with this condition are dependent on the disease phase.  Typical symptoms include shortness of breath, orthopnea, pulmonary edema, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, decreased exercise tolerance and carcinogenic shock.

Left-Sided Heart Failure

In general, heart failure is your heart's inability to supply enough blood flow to satisfy the needs of your body which can show up as a left atrial abnormality on an EKG.  Left-sided or backward failure causes pulmonary vasculature congestion so symptoms are primarily respiratory.

Left-sided failure can be left atrium failure, left ventricle failure or both.  Shortness of breath or cardiac asthma are common signs, as well as confusion, dizziness and cool hands and feet when resting.

Heart failure is disabling, costly and potentially deadly.  It is estimated that at least two percent of the population in the world suffers from this disease.  Common underlying causes are high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, ischaemic heart disease and valvular heart disease.  Less common causes are HIV, cardiomyopathy, heart muscle infection, systemic lupus erythematosus, cocaine abuse and pharmaceutical drug abuse.


High Blood Pressure

Commonly referred to as hypertension, this is a medical condition characterized by the elevation of systemic arterial blood pressure.  It is one of the primary causes for several serious health problems such as heart failure, stroke, arterial aneurysm, myocardial infarction, chronic kidney failure and shortened life expectancy.

There are many signs and symptoms that are associated with having high blood pressure, especially since it causes hormone regulation disorders within your body as well.  When it is combined with obesity, there are often purple abdominal marks or a buffalo hump in the back of your neck.  If high blood pressure is combined with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, symptoms such as tremors, weight loss, palm reddening, heart rate abnormalities, increased sweating, skin color darkening, excessive hair growth, numbness, excessive urination, elevated blood alkalinity and dehydration can occur.

It is also very important to note that high blood pressure in pregnant woman can cause preeclampsia which can transition to a life threatening disease which causes seizures, swelling vomiting, vision loss, nausea and headaches.  Pregnant women should always have their blood pressure checked regularly.