Rounder hearts may reveal clues for certain conditions

An image of a heart is shown in front of a medical backdrop.

The shape of the heart may be one way to improve risk predictions for cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart, according to a proof-of-concept study in Med.

Using cardiac MRIs and medical information from more than 38,000 adults, researchers found that heart shape, specifically a rounder size, overlapped with increased incidents of cardiomyopathy and to a lesser extent atrial fibrillation. After finding those with a rounder heart shape were more likely to have genetic ties to cardiomyopathy, the researchers explained heart size served as a proxy for underlying changes taking place in the body.

The investigators note these associations are preliminary and need to be validated through future studies and with additional imaging tools, such as echocardiograms. However, they envision that these types of markers could potentially improve risk screenings and management for heart conditions.

The study was supported by NHLBI and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.