What Are the Causes of Right Atrial Enlargement?


Right Atrial Enlargement (RAE) is a condition where the right atrium (a chamber of the heart) is larger than normal. It is responsible for pumping blood into the right ventricle via the tricuspid valve. There are multiple causes of RAE.


RAE is diagnosed by EKG and is suspected when a P wave that is higher than 2.5 millimeters is seen.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

RAE is commonly seen with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is a disease of the lungs that makes it difficult for the sufferer to breath. It can take the form of chronic bronchitis or Emphysema. The majority of people diagnosed with COPD are current or former smokers.

Mitral Stenosis

RAE is seen with mitral stenosis. Mitral stenosis happens when the opening to the mitral valve is blocked and cannot open properly. It can cause RAE. Rheumatic Fever is a common cause of mitral stenosis.

Mitral Regurgitation

RAE is also seen with mitral regurgitation. Mitral regurgitation happens when blood flows back toward your heart because the valves do not close properly. There are many causes of mitral regurgitiation, including mitral valve prolaspse (MVP,) which is fairly common. It is estimated that up to 10% of people may have some form of MVP.

Pulmonary Embolism

RAE can also be found in cases of Pulmonary Embolism. Pulmonary Embolism happens when the artery to the lung becomes block. This usually happens with the formation of a blood clot and is often sudden with little advance warning.

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