Pediatric Cardiac Tumors Treatment & Management

Updated: Jan 04, 2016
  • Author: Edwin Rodriguez-Cruz, MD; Chief Editor: Syamasundar Rao Patnana, MD  more...
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Medical Care

Most childhood cardiac tumors are benign, with no treatment necessary unless the tumor severely obstructs blood flow or causes intractable arrhythmias. Most only require close follow-up care. [10]

New data have addressed the use of serum creatine kinase-myocardial band (CK-MB) fraction levels in evaluating ventricular function. Greater ventricular dysfunction correlated with higher CK-MB levels.

Nonetheless, examine the patient extensively and expeditiously because finding a tumor is a stressful situation for both patient and family. By reaching a prompt and precise diagnosis, the physician can proceed with the best treatment approach.

The mode of treatment varies and cannot be easily simplified because the kind of tumor (benign vs malignant, infiltrative vs localized) dictates therapy. Location and extent of the tumor, as well as symptoms, are clinical variables that direct treatment. Observation is sufficient when the mass is small and does not interfere with vascular hemodynamics. However, the clinician must be aggressive when the tumor is causing hemodynamic problems. In occasions, electrical problems may also arise due to the location requiring resection and/or implantation of a pacemaker if atrioventricular block occurs.


Consult a cardiologist, thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, pathologist, radiologist, and hematologist/oncologist.


Transfer to a facility with the necessary specialties and consultants.

Diet and activity

No dietary restrictions are needed. Occasionally, certain restrictions such as low-sodium diet for congestive heart failure (CHF) are required.

Advise no restrictions unless the patient's clinical condition merits otherwise.


Surgical Care

Many advocate excision of the mass as soon as it is found; however, most childhood tumors are benign and do not require resection. Nevertheless, if a tumor is causing severe obstruction or intractable arrhythmias and has been rendered resectable, perform surgery as soon as possible. [11]

Excision and biopsy

If excision is required, perform it as extensively and completely as possible. Certain tumors recur even after complete excision. An extensive resection carries its own risks since, occasionally, removal of papillary muscles, valves, chordae tendineae, and conduction tissue are necessary.

Cardiac transplantation

Heart transplantation is an option for unresectable benign masses causing hemodynamic compromise. Transplantations have been performed with variable results for primary malignant cardiac tumors in children and adults without evidence of metastases.