CT and MR imaging of benign primary cardiac neoplasms with echocardiographic correlation

Philip A. Araoz, Sharon L. Mulvagh, Henry D. Tazelaar, Paul R. Julsrud, Jerome F. Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

270 Scopus citations


Benign primary cardiac neoplasms are rare but may cause significant morbidity and mortality. However, they are usually treatable and can often be diagnosed with echocardiography, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Myxomas typically arise from the interatrial septum from a narrow base of attachment. Fibroelastomas are easily detected at echocardiography as small, mobile masses attached to valves by a short pedicle. Cardiac fibromas manifest as a large, noncontractile, solid mass in a ventricular wall at echocardiography and as a homogeneous mass with soft-tissue attenuation at CT. They are usually homogeneous and hypointense on T2-weighted MR images and isointense relative to muscle on T1-weighted images. Paragangliomas usually appear as large, echogenic left atrial masses at echocardiography and as circumscribed, heterogeneous masses with low attenuation at CT. These tumors are usually markedly hyperintense on T2-weighted MR images and iso- or hypointense relative to myocardium on T1-weighted images. Cardiac lipomas manifest at CT as homogeneous, low-attenuation masses in a cardiac chamber or in the pericardial space and demonstrate homogeneous increased signal intensity that decreases with fat-saturated sequences at T1-weighted MR imaging. Cardiac lymphangiomas manifest as cystic masses at echocardiography and typically demonstrate increased signal intensity at T1- and T2-weighted MR imaging. Familiarity with these imaging features and with the relative effectiveness of these modalities is essential for prompt diagnosis and effective treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1303-1319
Number of pages17
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000


  • Fibroma and fibromatosis, 52.313
  • Heart, CT, 52.1211, 53.1211
  • Heart, MR, 52.12141, 53.12141
  • Heart, neoplasms, 52.31, 53.31
  • Heart, us, 52.1298, 53.1298
  • Lipoma, 52.312
  • Lymphangioma, 52.3142
  • Myxoma, 52.311
  • Paraganglioma, 52.3163

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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