Background: Lipomatous hypertrophy of the interatrial septum (LHIS) is a benign disorder characterized by fat accumulation in the interatrial septum. It typically occurs in elderly, obese patients and may cause arrhythmia.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the imaging features of this cardiac pathology using multislice CT (MSCT), and its relationship with clinical findings.
Materials and methods: A total of 1,292 consecutive patients who underwent MSCT of the thorax from September 2001 to August 2002 were prospectively studied. Beside the analysis of patient records, the amount of fat in the interatrial septum, and its size and shape were determined.
Results: Among the 1,292 patients investigated, we found 28 (2.2%) with LHIS. The mean age of affected patients was 72.2 years. MSCT studies revealed a mass of fat attenuation with sharp margins and sparing of the fossa ovalis, resulting in a dumbbell shape in all patients. The median thickness of the interatrial septum was 32 mm (range, 20 to 62 mm), and the median craniocaudal extend was 62 mm (range, 51 to 89 mm). Twenty-one patients (75.0%) showed increased epicardial fat, 18 patients (64.3%) had significant pulmonary emphysema, and 13 of 21 patients (61.9%) showed ECG abnormalities. Three patients underwent functional cardiac MRI studies. In one patient, hemodynamic obstruction by LHIS was shown.
Conclusions: MSCT scanning is a useful method to diagnose LHIS, a cardiac condition that in our series reached a 2.2% incidence. The lesion shows characteristic features, thus differentiating it from other cardiac tumors. Advanced age, obesity, pulmonary emphysema, and atrial arrhythmias are common additional findings in patients with LHIS.