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Clin Med Res. 2006 Mar;4(1):22-32.

The role of echocardiography in diagnosing space-occupying lesions of the heart.

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Department of Medicine, University of North Texas Health Science Campus, 855 Montgomery Road, 4 Floor, Fort Worth, Texas 76107, USA.


In contrast to primary cardiac tumors, which are less frequent and mostly benign in nature, the majority of intracardiac tumors are metastatic lesions. Cardiac ultrasound has evolved enormously since its emergence in the 1950s and is presently the modality of choice for imaging space-occupying lesions of the heart; it provides high quality, real-time images that are extremely valuable in the evaluation of cardiac masses. Although transthoracic echocardiography is an excellent initial diagnostic technique to evaluate and diagnose cardiac masses, transesophageal echocardiography provides superior image resolution and better visualization of cardiac masses in patients with suboptimal transthoracic echocardiography studies. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are additional tools used for cardiac imaging and may provide useful information in addition to that obtained by echocardiography, especially when the images obtained by the latter are suboptimal.

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