Also known as: heart tumors, rhabdomyomas, myxomas, fibromas, teratomas, rhabdomyosarcomas, fibrosarcomas.
What is a cardiac tumor?
If an abnormal tissue grows in the heart (or in rare cases spreads to the heart-called secondary or metastatic tumors), it is known as a primary cardiac tumor. Cardiac tumors are rare in children; they can be both benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and both may interfere with the way the heart functions.
Benign heart tumors include:
- rhabdomyomas (most common)
- pericardial teratomas
- and others
Malignant tumors are frequently rhabdomyosarcomas or fibrosarcomas.
What causes cardiac tumors?
A gene abnormality has been described with some tumors (e.g. myxomas) and other medical conditions may have cardiac tumors as part of their disease. Occasionally, children may have a family history of the tumors. Frequently no immediate cause is evident.
What are the signs/symptoms of cardiac tumors?
Many cardiac tumors cause no symptoms or have nonspecific symptoms so diagnosis may not always be easy. Depending on the location of the tumor, and whether it blocks blood flow or impedes heart function in some other way.
Symptoms in infants can include:
- a fast heart and respiratory rate
- failure to thrive
In older children, in addition to the above symptoms, they may present:
- abnormal heart sounds and rhythms
- heart failure
- shortness of breath
- coughing up blood
- joint pain
- and other symptoms
What are cardiac tumor care options?
Most childhood tumors are benign, do not cause any symptoms and no treatment may be required. In other instances, depending on tumor (it's position, whether benign or malignant, localized or spread, primary or secondary) therapy will vary. Surgical resection may be required (which may require a heart pacemaker to be installed to correct any heart arrhythmia).
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD
This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 11:26:52 AM
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From the Newsdesk
Meet Victoria, our June Patient of the Month! Before birth, Victoria, was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). While Victoria's mother was pregnant with her, the left side of her heart did not form correctly, causing an urgent need for surgery just after birth to help restore its function, or Victoria would die. Fast-forward to today, and Victoria, now a teenager, is leading a healthy life with her family in South Florida. She enjoys music and playing basketball with her siblings.
Christina was born with a variety of medical complications and congenital heart defects. She is now a 23 year pursuing a dental career. The Heart Program and Nicklaus Children's Hospital provided the care she needed when she was a baby, and for that, they will always hold a special place in her heart.