17 June 2014
Cardiac masses are rare entities that can be broadly categorized as either neoplastic or non-neoplastic. Neoplastic masses include benign and malignant tumors. In the heart, metastatic tumors are more common than primary malignant tumors. Whether incidentally found or diagnosed as a result of patients’ symptoms, cardiac masses can be identified and further characterized by a range of cardiovascular imaging options. While echocardiography remains the first-line imaging modality, cardiac computed tomography (cardiac CT) has become an increasingly utilized modality for the assessment of cardiac masses, especially when other imaging modalities are non-diagnostic or contraindicated. With high isotropic spatial and temporal resolution, fast acquisition times, and multiplanar image reconstruction capabilities, cardiac CT offers an alternative to cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging in many patients. Additionally, cardiac masses may be incidentally discovered during cardiac CT for other reasons, requiring imagers to understand the unique features of a diverse range of cardiac masses. Herein, we define the characteristic imaging features of commonly encountered and selected cardiac masses and define the role of cardiac CT among noninvasive imaging options.