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Cardiac Tumor

  • Overview

    A cardiac tumor is a growth that develops in the heart. The majority of cardiac tumors are benign, meaning they are non-cancerous and are not likely to spread.

  • What is a cardiac tumor?

    A cardiac tumor is an abnormal growth that develops in the heart. The majority of cardiac tumors are benign, meaning they are non-cancerous and are not likely to spread. However, because the heart is such an essential organ, even benign tumors can be life-threatening.

    How common are cardiac tumors?

    Cardiac tumors are rare in children. The most common cardiac tumor in infants and children is rhabdomyoma, which frequently appears as multiple tumors and can be associated with tuberous sclerosis.

    Other types of primary tumor include fibroma, hemangioma, myxoma, hamartoma, teratoma, lipoma, and various forms of sarcoma.

    What problems do cardiac tumors cause?

    Cardiac tumors can interfere with the way the heart works. They may cause blockages, rapid heart beats and enlargement of the heart.

    How are cardiac tumors diagnosed?

    Cardiac tumors are most commonly diagnosed with the aid of echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging.

  • Untreated benign cardiac tumors may be life threatening. Treatment of myxoma is usually done by surgical removal of the tumor.

    Surgery to remove multiple nodules when rhabomyomas and fibromas are present is usually not effective. Most infants and children with these tumors don't survive beyond the first year of life.

    Teratomas, which usually occur in infants, are also usually surgically removed even though they don't cause symptoms.

    Treatment of malignant (cancerous) cardiac tumors usually involves radiation, chemotherapy and management of complications. The expected outcomes for these types of tumors is poor.

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