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Heart Tumors (Myxomas, Rhabdomyomas and Fibromas) Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Primary tumors of the heart are rare with a prevalence atautopsy of less than 1/4 of 1%. Most tumors of the heart are benign, however they can cause impaired cardiac function (eg, congestive heart failure and blood flow obstruction), as well as conduction system impairment, or peripheral embolism. Thefore when diagnosed definitive treatment is required.

The most common heart tumor is a myxoma. Less common tumors do occur, Each has its own distinguishing characteristic which often may aid in accurate diagnosis. A definitive diagnosis is important because some cardiac tumors can be malignant or, more commonly, can represent metastasis from a distant primary tumor.

Myxomas arise usually from the inner lining of the heart (the endocardium) and range in size from 1-20 cm. The vast majority (75%) develop in the left atrium, with the remainder (15-20%) develop in the right atrium. Ventricular or valvular sites are rare. Rhabdomyomas are intramural tumors which are typically smaller and most often involve the left (80%) or right (15%) ventricles. Fibromas most commonly involve the intraventricular septum or left ventricular wall. Less than 10% of reported cases have atrial or great vessel involvement. Unlike myxomas, tumor embolization is uncommon. Tumor growth can displace or directly involve mitral and aortic valves and result in stenosis or regurgitation.

Symptoms typically are secondary to adverse effects on normal left ventricular function. Arrhythmias, particularly sudden death and abnormal atrioventricular conduction, are common because of tumor disruption of the eletrical conduction system of the heart.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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