Heart tumors

Recovery time from open heart surgery

Heart tumors are rare diseases, and most cases of heart tumors are discovered by chance, and the largest percentage of them are benign tumors. Heart tumors can be divided into either primary (originating from the heart) or secondary (originating from an organ other than the heart) as follows:

 Primary heart tumors

Primary or primitive tumors in the heart may be cancerous or benign, but they arise and develop in the heart, and most of them are rare, as their rate is one affected person in every 2,000 people, and they are divided into several types as follows:

  • Benign primary tumors


 People with myxoma of the heart often have genetic factors that trigger this disease. Most adult heart tumors are of the myxoid type, and they affect the heart of women at a higher rate than men in the age period between 40 and 60 years. Myxoma usually arises in the left atrium from the muscle. The heart, or the lining of the heart wall, appears in the form of smooth, villous cells And mucous With the heart Mucous tumors vary in diameter from 1 to 15 cm, and are of the benign type.


 Tumors that affect the heart are primitive, non-cancerous tumors. Children and infants occupy the largest percentage of those affected by this type. They appear in the form of solid white masses inside the heart wall in the ventricles. Most often, children with this disease (rhabdomyoma) suffer from tuberous sclerosis syndrome. Sclerosis, and the affected child can recover as he grows older.

Cardiac fibroids

 Fibromas are tumors in the heart that arise from connective or fibrous tissue cells in the heart muscle, especially in the left ventricle. Most heart fibroids affect children and infants, and although they are benign, non-cancerous tumors, they can cause heart failure and death. Sudden for the injured person, if it worsens and affects the electrical conduction system of the heart.

Fibropapillary tissue tumor

It mostly affects the heart valves and the main blood vessels, especially the aortic heart valve and the mitral valve. Although it is a benign type, it may affect the heart valves and cause their blockage.


It may appear in the form of a mass of fat cells, and in most cases it does not cause any complications and is discovered by chance, and it rarely affects the heart rhythm.


Teratomas, which are mostly female children, arise in the form of cysts that may reach a diameter of 15 centimeters.


Hemangiomas can affect any area of ​​the heart. However, hemangiomas in the heart are not dangerous and are discovered by chance during medical examinations.

2. Malignant primary tumors


It is one of the primary cancerous tumors that originate in the heart. It may develop in the left or right atrium, but it causes serious complications. It may prevent blood flow through the heart in what is called congestive heart failure. It may spread to other organs in the body, such as the lungs, because it is a malignant tumor.

Primary lymphoma of the heart

 Primary Lymphoma is rare, and most often affects individuals infected with HIV/AIDS, and it develops quickly to cause heart failure or an irregular heartbeat.

Cancerous mesothelioma

It is considered one of the primary malignant tumors that affect the tissues of the pericardium that covers the heart. Serious complications can occur and spread to other organs, causing brain tumors, spinal tumors, or lungs.

Secondary heart tumors:

Although it is rare to develop a heart tumor, the most common is a secondary tumor, which originates in any other organ in the body and then spreads to affect the heart muscle and blood vessels. Most of this type of secondary heart tumors are malignant, and a malignant heart tumor may appear after lung cancer or Breast, lymphoma, melanoma, etc.

What are the symptoms of a heart tumor?

 Some benign heart tumors may not cause symptoms or affect the function of the heart, and are discovered by chance. However, some tumors, especially malignant ones, affect the functional aspect of the heart, causing dangerous symptoms and complications. They may cause narrowing of the valves and reduce blood flow to the rest of the organs in general. They also cause It can affect the electrical system of the heart, and parts of these malignant cells can break off from inside the heart and flow through the blood and cause blockages in the arteries. In general, heart cancer causes a group of symptoms such as:

  • Low blood pressure, feeling lethargic and exhausted.
  • Fainting and feeling dizzy.
  • Arrhythmia.
  • Heart failure and shortness of breath.
  • Feeling pain in the chest and body.
  • Myocardial hypertrophy.
  •  Complaining of joint pain or swelling of the legs.

Diagnosis of heart tumors

The appearance of the aforementioned symptoms is not sufficient to indicate the presence of a heart tumor. Rather, heart disease is generally diagnosed using clinical examination, analyzes and diagnostic tests such as:

  •  Echocardiography: Echocardiography is mostly done through the chest, but some cases may require transesophageal planning to record signals directly behind the heart.
  • Imaging using MRI and CT scan.
  • Performing surgery to obtain a sample of a heart tumor, but it is a very rare method for diagnosing heart tumors, as the doctor often relies on other tests due to the risk of surgery to take a heart sample.
  •  Cardiac catheterization

What causes heart tumors?

Until now, it is not known exactly what causes the growth of a heart tumor, but there are some factors that doctors believe increase the possibility of infection, including:

  • Smoking may be a motivating cause.
  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Some genetic factors may trigger heart cancer.
  • Cancer cells move from anywhere in the body to the heart.


Is there a cure for heart cancer?

Professor Dr. Mohamed Ali El-Ghanem, Consultant in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Ain Shams University, explains that the treatment of heart tumors in general depends on the type and size of the tumor, the stage that the patient’s heart has reached, and the seriousness of the tumor, and the treating physician is able to determine the appropriate treatment plan for the patient according to many factors.

Note that heart tumors can be treated in the case of some small benign types by removing them with surgery, if they are not in the wall of the heart itself. This requires a skilled doctor in order to completely remove the tumor and prevent it from growing again.

 In the case of a cancerous tumor in the heart, it is dangerous to remove the tumor through heart surgery, but it is treated with radiation and chemotherapy in order to slow its growth.

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