Neonatal emergencies associated with cardiac rhabdomyomas: An 8-year experience

Gabriella De Rosa, Maria Pia De Carolis, Manuela Pardeo, Iliana Bersani, Alessia Tempera, Alessia De Nisco, Leonardo Caforio, Costantino Romagnoli, Marco Piastra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the foetal-neonatal period, rhabdomyomas represent the majority of cardiac tumours and are closely associated with tuberous sclerosis. Cardiac rhabdomyomas may be completely asymptomatic and are incidentally discovered during an echocardiogram, or may cause cardiac dysfunctions requiring medical and/or surgical intervention. During foetal life and the early neonatal period, life-threatening conditions, mostly due to arrhythmias, cardiac failure or obstruction, do occur on rare occasions. We reviewed the medical records of all cases of cardiac rhabdomyomas diagnosed prenatally or postnatally over an 8-year period. The present study reviews 7 cases of life-threatening conditions. Arrhythmic episodes were described in 5 patients, and blood flow obstruction was reported in 2 cases. Antiarrhythmic agents successfully controlled the clinical and electrophysiological conditions. Obstructive conditions were associated with poor outcomes. In conclusion, when prenatal diagnosis of rhabdomyoma is made, appropriate planning at delivery for the management of potential haemodynamic complications may prevent adverse neonatal outcomes. The clinical outcome is more influenced by obstructive rather than by dysrhythmic complications. Appropriate antiarrhythmic treatment is of primary importance. In all cases discovered through prenatal and/or neonatal life-threatening conditions, an accurate follow-up should always be performed to anticipate the development of tuberous sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
JournalFetal Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Cardiac rhabdomyoma
  • Life-threatening conditions
  • Tuberous sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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