Analysis of 150 patients with carcinoid syndrome seen in a single year at one institution in the first decade of the twenty-first century

Am J Cardiol. 2008 Feb 1;101(3):378-81. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.08.045. Epub 2007 Dec 21.


Carcinoid heart disease (CHD), reported in 50% to 70% of patients with carcinoid syndrome, is thought to be related to the production of 5-hydroxytryptamine by the tumor. The development of new therapeutic modalities designed to reduce tumor hormone production may have altered the development of CHD. Currently, echocardiography is performed when clinical suspicion of CHD exists. The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of CHD in the setting of modern treatment regimens and delineate whether a screening program for CHD is needed. One hundred fifty patients with carcinoid syndrome were screened for CHD by transthoracic echocardiography. The functional status of patients was classified according to New York Heart Association class. Thirty patients (20%) were found to have CHD. Of those with CHD, 14 (47%) had left- and right-sided valvular lesions. Patent foramen ovale was present in all patients with left-sided CHD. Forty-three percent of patients were in New York Heart Association class I, 40% in class II, 13% in class III and 3% in class IV. Eight patients (27%) with moderate or severe valvular lesions were in class I. Thirty-seven percent of patients with CHD had no physical signs. In conclusion, the presence of symptoms or abnormalities on clinical examination has a low sensitivity for the presence of CHD. Therefore, screening with echocardiography, even in patients who are asymptomatic, should be advocated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoid Heart Disease / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoid Heart Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoid Heart Disease / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Foramen Ovale, Patent / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malignant Carcinoid Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency / epidemiology
  • Ultrasonography