Primary Cardiac Tumours

Primary cardiac tumours are uncommon, and comprise only a small minority of all tumour that involve the heart: most are mediastinal or lung tumours which extend through the pericardium and into the heart, or metastases 1.


Primary cardiac tumours have an estimated autopsy prevalence of 0.001 - 0.03% 2.


Primary cardiac tumours can then be divided into:

* benign cardiac tumours : 60 - 75% 1,4
o cardiac myxoma : most common in adults
o cardiac lipoma (≈ 10% 4, second most common in adults 6)
o cardiac rhabdomyoma : most common in children
o papillary fibroelastoma
o cardiac fibroma
o cardiac haemangioma
o pericardial teratoma (can rapidly grow despite being benign) 7-8
* malignant cardiac tumours
o sarcomas account for 25 % of all cardiac tumours 2,6
+ cardiac angiosarcoma : most common malignant primary cardiac tumour 3
+ primary cardiac osteosarcoma
o malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) of heart
o cardiac haemangiopericytoma
o primary cardiac lymphoma
o pericardial mesothelioma


Right atrial myxoma CT


Cardiac rhabodmyomas Ultrasound

Article Source : Dr Frank Gaillard, Radiopaedia


* 1. CT of the Heart: Principles and Applications. U. Joseph Schoepf. Humana P.,U.S. ISBN:1592598188 (find it at
* 2. Grebenc ML, Rosado de Christenson ML, Burke AP et-al. Primary cardiac and pericardial neoplasms: radiologic-pathologic correlation. Radiographics. 20 (4): 1073-103. Radiographics (full text) [pubmed citation]
* 3. Philip A. Araoz, CT and MR Imaging of Primary Cardiac Malignancies, November 1999 RadioGraphics, 19, 1421-1434
* 4. Javier Ganame, Cardiac lipoma diagnosed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, Eur Heart J (2007) doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehm476
* 5. M Yamagishi , Magnetic resonance imaging of cardiac osteosarcoma, Heart 2001;85:311 doi:10.1136/heart.85.3.311
* 6. Patrick J. Sparrow, MR Imaging of Cardiac Tumors, RadioGraphics, 25, 1255-1276. September 2005
* 7. Tae Hoon Kim, Perinatal Sonographic Diagnosis of Cardiac Fibroma with MR Imaging Correlation, AJR 2002; 178:727-729
* 8. De Bustamante TD, Azpeitia J, Miralles M, Jimenez M, Santos-Briz A, Rodriguez-Peralto JL. Prenatal sonographic detection of pericardial teratoma. J Clin Ultrasound 2000;28:194 -198

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