Pediatric cardiac tumors: Clinical and imaging features

Ting Y. Tao, Noushin Yahyavi-Firouz-Abadi, Gautam K. Singh, Sanjeev Bhalla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Cardiac tumors in children are rare, are more commonly benign, and differ in types when compared with those in adults. Rhabdomyoma, teratoma, and fibroma are the most common cardiac tumors in fetuses and neonates. In infants and children, the most common cardiac tumors are rhabdomyoma and fibroma, which are benign primary cardiac tumors, whereas in adults, thrombus is the most common cardiac mass and myxoma is the most common primary cardiac tumor. Sarcomas are the most common primary malignant cardiac tumors in both children and adults. Metastatic cardiac tumors are less common in children than in adults and include sarcoma, lymphoma, testicular cancer, and Wilms tumor. Patients with cardiac tumors can be asymptomatic or may present with murmur, arrhythmia, heart failure, or sudden death. Echocardiography is the primary modality for initial evaluation of symptomatic patients. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging provides further characterization of cardiac masses and tumors for diagnostic purposes and can be used to assess cardiac and extracardiac involvement for treatment planning. Treatment varies from conservative management or surgical resection to transplantation, depending on the diagnosis and the patient's symptoms. Rhabdomyoma typically regresses spontaneously during early childhood and does not require surgical intervention if asymptomatic. However, fibroma is generally resected because it does not regress. An understanding of the types of cardiac tumors that occur in infants and children, their clinical mplications and associations, and their imaging appearances will facilitate patient management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1046
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


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