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Sudden Death Owing to Right Atrial Hemangioma


  • Supported by a grant from Cardiac Risk in the Young, U.K.

Additional information—reprints not available from author:
Mary N. Sheppard, M.D.
Department of Histopathology
Royal Brompton Hospital
Sydney Street
London SW3 6NP


Abstract:  Primary cardiac tumors are rare, with an autopsy incidence of 0.03%. Seventy-nine percent to 85% of primary cardiac tumors are benign, and of the benign tumors, cardiac hemangiomas account for 5–10% of cases. Most cardiac hemangiomas are asymptomatic and are discovered incidentally at autopsy, or by echocardiography, computerized tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging. We report a case of sudden death owing to cardiac hemangioma in a 22-year-old woman who collapsed while shopping and became unresponsive. The autopsy revealed a hemorrhagic mass on the surface of the right atrium which was infiltrating and replacing the wall of the right atrium; histopathological examination confirmed the tumor was a cavernous hemangioma. Fewer than 20 cases of right atrial cavernous hemangiomas have been reported in English literature, emphasizing the rarity of our case.