Cardiac Tumor

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)
  • fibromas
  • myxomas
  • 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:

  • irritability
  • fever
  • pallor
  • 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
  • palpitations
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • cough
  • 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


Upcoming Events

How to Thrive at School After a Brain Tumor Diagnosis

The Nicklaus Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders Center, together with the Brain Institute is proud to host this free event designed to deliver education, support and guidance for children diagnosed with brain tumors and their caregivers. Learn more.

Talkin' Kids Health Facebook Live with Beatriz Canals

In this edition of Talkin' Kids Health we will discuss cancer effects and the survivorship program at Nicklaus Children's with Dr. Haneen Abdella, Pediaric Oncolgoist at Nicklaus Children's and Kristen Mendez, ARNP and Manager of the Survivorship Program. Learn more.

From the Newsdesk

August Patient of the Month: Luife
While he was still inside his mother’s womb, Luife was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect. Shortly after birth, Luife was taken by ambulance to the cardiac team at Nicklaus Children’s. The pediatric cardiology team took Luife’s heart apart, piece by delicate piece, and successfully, put it back together. Today, Luife is a healthy, active and outgoing 8-year-old boy who wears his “Scar of Honor” with pride. 
August Patient of the Month: Luife
While he was still inside his mother’s womb, Luife was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect. Shortly after birth, Luife was taken by ambulance to the cardiac team at Nicklaus Children’s. The pediatric cardiology team took Luife’s heart apart, piece by delicate piece, and successfully, put it back together. Today, Luife is a healthy, active and outgoing 8-year-old boy who wears his “Scar of Honor” with pride. 

Video

video
As part of the Cancer Survivorship Program you will meet with a multidisciplinary team to guide you on your journey.