Heart Tumor Program | Research & Innovation

Given their rarity, there is limited research on heart tumors, but over the years, the Heart Center team has made clinical research a priority. Their focus has been in three primary areas.

Heart tumor diagnostics

The team has developed methodology to identify tumor type by MRI in conjunction with echocardiography.

Tumor-associated arrhythmias

Potentially life-threatening arrhythmias often complicate cardiac tumors. Our team has extensive experience with management of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias in these patients and has published on treatment strategies in patients with rhabdomyomas and fibromas.

Miyake CY, del Nido PJ, Alexander ME, Cecchin F, Berul CI, Triedman JK, Geva T, Walsh EP. Cardiac Tumors and Associated Arrhythmias in Pediatric Patients, With Observations on Surgical Therapy for Ventricular Tachycardia J Am Coll Cardiol 2011;58:1903-1909

Chrystalle Katte Carreon, Stephen P. Sanders, Antonio R. Perez-Atayde, Pedro J. del Nido, Edward P. Walsh, Tal Geva, Mark E. Alexander. Interdigitating Myocardial Tongues in Pediatric Cardiac Fibromas: Plausible Substrate for Ventricular Tachycardia and Cardiac Arrest. JACC Clin Electrophysiol. 2019 May;5(5):563-575.

Surgical management and techniques

Surgery is the most comprehensive and contemporary approach in carefully selected patients with pediatric cardiac tumors. However, the management strategy and, in particular, the surgical approach for ventricular fibromas can pose a challenge. The large tumor size in relationship to the ventricular chambers and encroachment on vital adjacent structures has often been considered a limiting factor.

The heart tumor team has safely managed large ventricular fibromas with total or near total excision, removing the risk of life-threatening arrhythmias with excellent clinical results. We have not recommended heart transplant in children we have treated for fibroma.

 Nathan M, Fabozzo A, Geva T, Walsh E, del Nido JP. Successful surgical management of ventricular fibromas in children. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2014;148:2602-8