Cardiac tumors in children: A 20-year review of clinical presentation, diagnostics and treatment

Joanna Kwiatkowska, Anna Wałdoch, Jarosław Meyer-Szary, Piotr Potaż, Marek Grzybiak
Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine: Official Organ Wroclaw Medical University 2017, 26 (2): 319-326

BACKGROUND: The use of new imaging techniques has contributed significantly to earlier diagnosis and treatment of cardiac tumors.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to analyze data from children with cardiac tumors in terms of clinical presentation, the role of noninvasive diagnostic procedures and the long-term outcome.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The data analyzed retrospectively concerned 30 children in whom cardiac tumors were diagnosed from January 1995 to July 2015. The cardiac evaluation included a review of the subjects' medical records and medical history, a physical examination, standard 12-lead electrocardiography, echocardiography and 24-h Holter ECG monitoring at the time of diagnosis and at 6-12 month intervals during the follow-up at the authors' outpatient clinic.

RESULTS: Most of the children did not need cardiac surgery; surgical tumor excision was necessary in 3 cases only. There was 1 death in the follow-up period. Rhabdomyoma was diagnosed in 22 cases, and in 16 of them tuberous sclerosis was confirmed during the follow-up period. In the remaining 8 cases, fibroma was the most likely diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS: The symptomatology of cardiac tumors in children can vary greatly, from the absence of any symptoms up to heart failure and respiratory distress indicating the need for surgical intervention. The diagnosis of cardiac tumors relies almost exclusively on noninvasive imaging techniques. The observations in this study confirm the fact that the most common cardiac tumor in children is rhabdomyoma, which may disappear spontaneously. Most patients with cardiac tumors do not require treatment.

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