A survey of heart tumors: clinical and echocardiographic approach
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Heart tumors can be primary in origin, can develop from direct extension of a neighboring tumor or they can be the manifestation of metastasis of a distant tumor. Myxomas are the most frequently encountered primary benign cardiac tumors. Primary malignant tumors of the heart are rare, and they are mostly sarcomatous in structure, Secondary heart tumors constitute a wide spectrum, nevertheless they most frequently originate from lung cancer, breast cancer and hematological malignancies. Heart tumors may involve myocardium, endocardium, epicardium, pericardium, or any combination of the aforementioned layers. On the other hand, the usual site for metastasis to the heart is the pericardium. These tumors do not have a well-established classification. Clinical findings are usually non-specific and transient in nature and frequently present late in the disease process. Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography are the most widely used diagnostic modalities. Magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography may be helpful for selected cases. Surgery is the principal therapeutic option in benign tumors and when recurrences are not taken into account, they have favorable prognoses. Since surgical resection is usually incomplete in malignant tumors, therapy must be individualized for each patient; even with adjuvant chemotherapy, postoperative survival is usually short. Metastases to the heart are usually approached symptomatically except for exceptional cases.