Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Assessment of Carcinoid Heart Disease

Clin Radiol. 2009 Aug;64(8):761-6. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2008.10.013. Epub 2009 Feb 26.


Carcinoid disease arises from a low-grade neuroendocrine tumour derived from serotonin-producing enterochromaffin cells. It is the most common tumour affecting the small bowel. The majority of patients who progress to carcinoid syndrome develop cardiac disease selectively involving the right side of the heart, whereas left heart disease is unusual. The most common cause of death is dilatation and dysfunction of the right ventricle. Right ventricular dysfunction is largely secondary to pathological endocardial fibrosis of the tricuspid and pulmonary valves, presenting with regurgitation and stenosis. Average survival falls to only 11 months with the onset of symptoms, but recent evidence suggests that survival can be improved by early surgery in selected individuals. This article reviews the particular role that cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging has in the management of carcinoid heart disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoid Heart Disease / complications
  • Carcinoid Heart Disease / diagnosis*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / complications*
  • Heart Valve Diseases / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Pulmonary Valve Insufficiency / complications
  • Pulmonary Valve Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Valve Stenosis / complications
  • Pulmonary Valve Stenosis / diagnosis
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency / complications
  • Tricuspid Valve Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Tricuspid Valve Stenosis / complications
  • Tricuspid Valve Stenosis / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / diagnosis*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Right / etiology