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Cardiac tumors are a rare, but potentially curably form of heart disease. A high index of clinical suspicion is necessary for diagnosis as these tumors have protean manifestations that mimic a variety of other cardiac and noncardiac diseases. Presently, M-mode and two-dimensional echocardiography are utilized as safe, reliable, and noninvasive imaging modalities. Seventy-five per cent of these tumors are benign, with myxoma accounting for 50% and rhabdomyoma comprising 20% of lesions. Various histologic types of sarcoma are the predominant malignant cardiac neoplasms. With strict attention to avoiding perioperative tumor embolization, surgical resection of these lesions can be accomplished with minimal morbidity and mortality. Sixteen consecutive primary tumors of the heart have been surgically treated at Duke University Medical Center since 1966 with no perioperative deaths and no late recurrences.