Cardiac Surgery for Carcinoid Heart Disease: A Weapon Not to Be Misused

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Carcinoid heart disease (CHD) complicates approximately 25% of patients with a carcinoid tumor and carcinoid syndrome and leads to heart valve degeneration with mixed-stenotic and regurgitation pathology and consequent heart failure (HF) leading to significant morbidity and mortality. Cardiac surgery in symptomatic, severe CHD leads to significantly better functional capacity and prolonged survival when compared to medical treatment alone. Recent studies have shown improvement in postoperative outcomes of patients undergoing surgery for CHD over the last decades. The trend for early diagnosis and application of surgery prior to the manifestation of HF symptoms, which tended to develop during the previous years, does not seem justifiable based on the findings of recent studies. Therefore, the optimal timing of intervention in CHD and the type of valve that should preferably be used remain issues of controversy. This review comprehensively examines the existing literature on the treatment options for patients with CHD, with a special focus on short- and long-term survival after cardiac surgery, and discusses the selection of the exact patient profile and intervention timing that are more likely to optimize the benefit-to-risk ratio for surgical intervention.

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