Imaging sarcomas of the great vessels and heart

Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2011 Oct;32(5):377-404. doi: 10.1053/j.sult.2011.06.001.


Primary sarcomas of the aorta, pulmonary artery, superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, and the heart are rare neoplasms. Aortic sarcomas are broadly categorized as either primarily luminal or primarily mural, with luminal sarcomas more likely to be misdiagnosed as thrombus. Pulmonary artery sarcomas are often mistaken for pulmonary embolism both clinically and at imaging. Vena caval sarcomas appear as intraluminal or extraluminal masses connecting to or filling the veins. The most common are leiomyosarcomas of the inferior vena cava. Primary sarcomas of the heart are rare and usually appear as heterogeneous aggressive masses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Artery
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Vascular Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Vena Cava, Inferior
  • Vena Cava, Superior


  • Contrast Media
  • Radiopharmaceuticals