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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in International Journal of Cardiology Volume 133, Issue 2, April 2009, Pages 152-156. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.11.103. Copyright © Elsevier B.V..


Primary cardiac tumors are a rare entity compared to tumors that metastasize to the heart. Patients with such tumors may be asymptomatic. Many cases are found incidentally during evaluation of an unrelated medical condition. It is important for the clinician to have a high index of suspicion when evaluating a patient presenting with signs and systemic symptoms concerning possible malignancy, plus cardiac specific symptoms or complications. These can include new onset dyspnea, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias or murmurs varying with body positions. Imaging, particularly the use of echocardiography, remains the cornerstone of diagnosis, and may be combined with new imaging modalities of cardiac CT and MRI. The aim of this paper is to describe the epidemiology and pathophysiology of the various benign and malignant primary cardiac tumors.

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