A small percentage of the population develops tumors of the heart. Roughly 95% of these primary tumors are called myxomas, and 90% of these occur in the left atrium. All myxomas should be removed to prevent death or stroke which will inevitably occur if left untreated. These tumors are most often benign (non-cancerous).
Primary tumors of the heart are very uncommon, and are generally benign. They most often occur in the left atrium. The primary risk to the patient is the risk of embolization, in which a piece of the tumor breaks off and either moves to the brain causing a stroke, or obstructs blood flow through the heart itself.
The majority of all tumors are removed through a sternal procedure, but the da Vinci system can be used to remove all but a few intracardiac tumors. As with a robotic mitral valve repair, the operation is performed through a very small incision on the right side of the chest. With this minimally invasive procedure, recovery time is reduced: two weeks (instead of two months for procedures that involve a sternotomy).
Other benefits include fewer infections, fewer blood transfusions, reduced pain, and better cosmetic results, with less scarring.
If you are in need of surgery for intra cardiac tumors or to find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive robotic surgery, please contact us.