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Primary cardiac tumors: 32 years of experience from a Spanish tertiary surgical center

Manuel Barreiro, Alfredo Renilla, Jaime M Jimenez, María Martin, Tarique Al Musa, Laura Garcia, Vicente Barriales
Cardiovascular Pathology: the Official Journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology 2013, 22 (6): 424-7

INTRODUCTION: Primary cardiac tumors are rare entities with an autopsy frequency ranging between 0.001% and 0.3%. Our objective was to review 32 years of experience from a Spanish tertiary surgical center.

METHOD: We collected data on 73 patients with a histopathological diagnosis of a primary cardiac tumor in a retrospective analysis from 1979 to 2012. Tissue samples were obtained either at surgery or from necropsy and subsequently divided into benign and malignant groups.

RESULTS: Benign neoplasms accounted for 84.9% of cases. The average age at diagnosis was 61 years, and tumors were twice as frequent among women. It was an incidental finding in one quarter of patients. In symptomatic patients, the typical presentation was of cardioembolic stroke or of congestive symptoms. Myxoma (93.5%) was the most common diagnosis, typically affecting the left atrium (74.2%). Surgical resection was curative for 95% of these patients. Malignant tumors represented 15.1% of cases with an average age at diagnosis of 50 years. Over 90% of these patients were symptomatic at presentation with the cardinal symptom being heart failure. Undifferentiated sarcoma was the most frequent malignant tumor (36.4%). Less than 20% of patients were alive 1 year after diagnosis despite the treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: In our study, primary cardiac tumors were insidious. The most common was left atrial myxoma in which surgical resection was considered curative. Undifferentiated sarcoma was the most frequent malignant tumor. Malignant neoplasms carried a worse prognosis with unsuccessful total excision and the presence of metastatic disease being markers of an adverse outcome.

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