What are Cardiac Tumors?
Cardiac tumors refer to an abnormal mass of tissue in your heart due to uncontrolled growth of heart cells. Cardiac tumors can be classified as non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) tumors.
Benign cardiac tumors don’t spread to other areas, but may continue to grow bigger and sometimes lead to blockage in parts of your heart. Malignant cardiac tumors can spread (metastasize) to other parts of your body and can be fatal.
Symptoms of Cardiac Tumors
Symptoms of cardiac tumors depend on the location, nature and size of the tumor. Certain cardiac tumors may be asymptomatic. However, most cause the following non-specific symptoms:
- Chest pain
Malignant heart tumors may cause the following symptoms:
- Obstruction of blood flow in the heart
- Abnormal heart beat (arrhythmias)
- Loss of consciousness
Diagnosis of Cardiac Tumors
Your doctor will inquire about your symptoms and may recommend an echocardiogram, computed tomography (CT) scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. For a detailed diagnosis, you may have to undergo a biopsy which involves making a small incision in your chest and taking a sample of tissue from your cardiac tumor to view under a microscope.
Treatment of Cardiac Tumors
Treatment depends on the nature and size of the cardiac tumor. The sooner you are diagnosed, the better the likelihood of successful treatment and recovery.
- Benign tumors can be removed via open-heart surgery with a high success rate. Open-heart surgery involves opening your chest wall and removing the tumor.
- For malignant tumors, you will be required to take combination treatment that involves medication, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. Surgery involves removal of the tumor, and the damaged parts of your heart may require repair and reconstruction.