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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


A Case of Carcinoid Syndrome Due to Malignant Metastatic Carcinoid Tumor with Carcinoid Heart Disease Involving Four Cardiac Valves

Rare disease

Brianna J. Shinn, Laura J. Tafe, Pantila Vanichakarn

USA Department of Internal Medicine, The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, PA, USA

Am J Case Rep 2018; 19:284-288

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.906486

Available online:

Published: 2018-03-12


BACKGROUND: Carcinoid tumor, benign, low-grade malignant, and high-grade malignant, can be associated with the release of vasoactive substances that cause symptoms including cutaneous flushing, diarrhea, and bronchospasm. In 50–60% of patients with carcinoid syndrome, the vasoactive substances cause fibrosis of the pulmonary and tricuspid heart valves which lead to regurgitation and right-sided heart failure. The right side of the heart is usually affected because monoamine oxidases in the lungs usually inactivate the vasoactive substances.
CASE REPORT: A 62-year-old woman presented with a four-month history of diarrhea and abdominal discomfort. The patient had bilateral pelvic masses and elevated serum CA125 and an elevated urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA). Total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH) and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) identified a primary appendiceal carcinoid tumor with bilateral ovarian metastases. Post-operatively, a computed tomography (CT) scan showed cardiomegaly. Transthoracic echocardiography showed morphologic changes that affected all four heart valves, consistent with carcinoid heart disease but without a patent foramen ovale (PFO). The patient was evaluated for valve replacement surgery, but surgery was not performed due to the degree of heart failure.
CONCLUSIONS: This report describes a rare case of carcinoid heart disease with involvement of all four cardiac valves, but without the presence of a PFO, possibly due to a large amount of vasoactive substances in the patient’s circulation, as supported by the patient’s elevated urinary 5-HIAA. This rare presentation highlights the importance of early diagnosis and treatment with tumor resection and, if possible, Cardiac valve replacement to prevent irreversible heart failure.

Keywords: Carcinoid Heart Disease, Carcinoid Tumor, Heart Valve Diseases