Nimesh D. Desai1, MD, Jagdish W . Butany, MBBS MS, FRCPC2
Departments of Cardiac Surgery1 and Pathology2, Toronto General Hospital / University Health Network and University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Cardiac tumours are uncommon,when compared to other tumours. A few of these are more frequently seen in the young (first and second decade of life),while most are more common in older individuals ( fourth decade of life and later). When they occur they are more likely to be metastatic than primary cardiac neoplasms, the latter more likely benign than malignant, and the former more common in older individuals.Their manifestations are varied and invariably pose a diagnostic challenge. The first pre-mortem diagnosis of an intracardiac myxoma was not made until 1952, using angiography.1 Today, the accurate clinical diagnosis of cardiac tumours is made with non-invasive techniques such as echocardiography.
Autopsy studies have shown an incidence of between 0.0017 and 0.3 percent for primary cardiac tumours.2,3 In adults the mean age at diagnosis of tumours is: sarcoma 40 years; myxoma 50 years; mesothelioma, 57 years; papillary fibroelastoma, 59 years; and lipomatous hypertrophy, 64 years.4 The incidence of secondary or metastatic cardiac tumours is significantly greater than that of primary tumours and is approximately 1.23%.