Papillary Fibroelastoma of the Heart
Background: Fibroelastoma is a rare cardiac tumor that was originally described typically from autopsy findings. Thanks to improved imaging modalities, such tumors are today relatively easy to detect and therefore are actively searched for in patients with unclear embolic events. We present the cases of 2 patients recently treated in our clinic and review the recent literature pertaining to fibroelastomas.
Methods and Results: An electronic PubMed search revealed 186 cases reported between 1994 and 2003. Ninety-seven percent of the reported fibroelastomas were diagnosed in living patients in their fourth and fifth decades of life. The majority (86%) were symptomatic, with stroke, transient ischemic attack, myocardial infarction, and angina pectoris being the most commonly described. Echocardiography was the typical diagnosis modality. Surgical resection was completed in 95% of the cases.
Conclusions: Although cardiac papillary fibroelastomas are rare and benign tumors, they cannot be considered as harmless endothelial lesions, because related embolic events are frequent and primarily involve adults in their active period of life. Echocardiography must therefore consider fibroelastoma in the differential diagnosis of every unclear systemic embolic event, especially because surgical resection can be considered as curative.
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