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August 1976

Angiosarcoma of the Heart: A Case Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.

Arch Intern Med. 1976;136(8):928-929. doi:10.1001/archinte.1976.03630080062018

Angiosarcomas of the heart generally present complex and perplexing diagnostic problems for the physician. For the most part, this is because of their rarity. Angiosarcomas comprise 5% to 13% of all cardiac tumors, themselves an uncommon event.1.2 Of help to the physician are the surprisingly similar clinical manifestations of patients with angiosarcoma. Characteristically, there is right-sided congestive heart failure and pericardial tamponade with a hemorrhagic fluid.3 This paper describes a patient with an angiosarcoma that defied diagnosis before autopsy, despite cardiac catheterization, pericardiectomy, thoracotomy, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Recent literature on angiosarcoma of the heart is reviewed.

PATIENT SUMMARY  Six weeks prior to admission, a 58-year-old man noted shortness of breath on his daily mile run. His family physician found cardiomegaly on chest roentgenogram and treated the patient with furosemide and digoxin. Because of the development of ascites and left pleural effusion, the patient was transferred to the

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