To investigate the characteristics and pathological features of primary cardiac tumors
and to evaluate the diagnostic sensitivity of echocardiography in primary cardiac
tumors, all pathologic and echocardiographic records at the Chinese PLA general hospital
and its satellite hospitals between January 1st, 1990 and January 1st, 2000 were reviewed
to identify patients with a confirmed diagnosis of primary cardiac tumors. A total
of 149 patients who had complete echocardiographic records and who were diagnosed
with primary cardiac tumors were included in the study. Pathologic and echocardiographic
records were reviewed retrospectively to evaluate the presence, location and histologic
type of the tumors. The majority (n=118, 79.2%) of cases had been diagnosed with benign
tumors. Myxoma was the most common histologic type accounting for 50.0% of total cardiac
tumors. Lipoma was the second most common type of benign tumor. Among cases with malignant
tumors (n=31, 20.8%), unclassified sarcoma (n=7), angiosarcoma (n=6) and rhabdomyosarcoma
(n=6) were the common histologic types of primary malignant tumor. Non-myxomatous
benign tumors were more likely to have occurred in the ventricle than myxomas (17/43,
39.5% vs. 7/75, 9.3%; P=0.00). The proportion of pericardium involvement in the malignant
tumors (8/31, 25.8%) was significantly higher than that in the myxomas (0/75, 0%;
P=0.00) and non-myxomas (2/43, 4.7%; P=0.01). The diagnostic sensitivity of transthoracic
and transesophageal echocardiography was 93.3% (139/149) and 96.8% (30/31), respectively.
The study, using a relatively large sample, confirms that myxoma was the most common
primary cardiac tumor. The locations of tumor involvement varied by types of tumor.
Echocardiography may be a useful tool for early diagnosis of primary cardiac tumors.