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An Pediatr (Barc). 2008 Jul;69(1):15-22.

[Primary cardiac tumours in infancy].

[Article in Spanish]

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Sección de Cardiología Pediátrica, Hospital Infantil La Fe, Valencia, Spain.



Primary cardiac tumours are very rare in the paediatric age, their incidence varies from 0.0017 % to 0.28 %. More than 90 % are benign in nature. The most common variety is the rhabdomyoma, present in over 60 % of cases with tuberous sclerosis.


We performed a retrospective analysis of medical records with a diagnosis of primary cardiac tumor between March 1977 and March 2007, finding a total of 27 patients.


The age of initial diagnosis is more prevalent in the neonatal period, beginning with the discovery of a heart murmur (11 cases). There was no difference in gender distribution. In 14 patients were found cardiomegaly on chest radiograph. According to the echocardiography characteristics there were diagnosed 20 rhabdomyomas, 2 fibromas, 2 pericardial teratomas and 3 non classifiable tumours. Most were located in the left ventricle. Echocardiography, cardiac catheterization was also performed in 3 cases and angioresonance in 5 cases. During their evolution, episodes of arrhythmias were observed in 11 patients, 5 patients required some sort of surgical procedure, which confirmed the histopathology diagnosis. In 3 patients the initial cause of death was cardiological. The 75 % of cases with rhabdomyomas presented or developed tuberous sclerosis. In most of the rhabdomyomas (13 cases), there was a spontaneous regression.


Firstly, there is shown to be a low prevalence of this disorder in children. Rhabdomyoma is the most common primary cardiac tumour in our study and it was associated in 75 % of cases with tuberous sclerosis. The diagnosis is more common in the early neonatal period after auscultation of a cardiac murmur and echocardiography, the diagnostic technique of choice, other imaging techniques, such as angioMRI not being of much for diagnosis in children. The emergence of foetal echocardiography allows early detection. The course is benign in most tumours, rhabdomyomas tending to regress spontaneously. It must be monitored as the occurrence of arrhythmias during its evolution will require medical treatment. Surgery is needed in cases with severe symptoms, due to obstruction in the ventricular output tracts. One option is the surgical cardiac transplant in non-resectable life-threatening tumours.

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