Recurrence of Pathologically Proven Papillary Fibroelastoma

Ahmed A. Sorour, Reto D. Kurmann, Edward A. El-Am, Melanie C. Bois, Christopher G. Scott, Alex T. Lee, Joseph A. Dearani, Joseph J. Maleszewski, Kyle W. Klarich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Papillary fibroelastoma (PFE) is the most common primary benign cardiac tumor. Because PFEs have the potential to embolize, they often are surgically excised. Prior studies have suggested that postoperative recurrence of PFE is rare or does not occur. We aimed to determine the rate at which PFEs recurred after surgical removal and to identify any risk factors associated with recurrence. Methods: We retrospectively identified all patients from a single center with pathologically proven PFE, treated from January 1995 through December 2018. Patients were included in the study if they had an echocardiographic examination at least 1 year after surgery. We compared echocardiographic images obtained intraoperatively (after excision) and at dismissal with those of the most recent examination to assess the possibility of PFE recurrence. Results: We included 98 patients in the study. The mean duration of follow-up was 5.4 (SD 3.7) years (range, 1 to 17); the median duration of follow-up was 4.3 years (interquartile range, 1.9 to 7.7). Twelve patients (12.2%) had echocardiographically supported PFE recurrence. Three patients had the recurrent lesion surgically reexcised, and pathologic analysis showed that two were recurrent PFEs and one was a Lambl excrescence. Initial clinical presentation of stroke or transient ischemic attack was more common for the recurrence group (for the first PFE) than for the nonrecurrence group (83% vs 26%; P < .001). Conclusions: Contrary to findings from previous studies, PFEs do recur after surgical excision. These findings emphasize the importance of postoperative follow-up with transesophageal echocardiography for identifying recurrent masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1214
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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