Case Reports in Medicine

Case Reports in Medicine / 2014 / Article

Case Report | Open Access

Volume 2014 |Article ID 819052 |

Medhat F. Zaher, Sharad Bajaj, Mirette Habib, Emile Doss, Michael Habib, Mahesh Bikkina, Fayez Shamoon, Wissam N. Hoyek, "A Giant Left Atrial Myxoma", Case Reports in Medicine, vol. 2014, Article ID 819052, 3 pages, 2014.

A Giant Left Atrial Myxoma

Academic Editor: Michael S. Firstenberg
Received22 Jun 2014
Accepted08 Nov 2014
Published21 Dec 2014


Atrial myxomas are the most common primary cardiac tumors. Patients with left atrial myxomas generally present with mechanical obstruction of blood flow, systemic embolization, and constitutional symptoms. We present a case of an unusually large left atrial myxoma discovered incidentally in a patient with longstanding dyspnea being managed as bronchial asthma.

1. Introduction

Myxomas are the most common primary neoplasms of the heart. The clinical presentation varies from asymptomatic incidental masses to serious life-threatening cardiovascular complications. Some cases are difficult to diagnose, as symptoms can be nonspecific. Although the majority of cases are diagnosed by transthoracic echocardiogram, we present a case of an unusually large left atrial myxoma discovered incidentally on an abdominal CT scan in a patient with longstanding exertional dyspnea being managed as bronchial asthma.

2. Case Presentation

A 59-year-old woman with a longstanding history of exertional dyspnea being managed as bronchial asthma presented for evaluation of nonspecific abdominal pain. The computed tomographic scan of the abdomen revealed an incidental finding of a large, hypodense mass in the left atrium (LA) (Figure 1(a)). On interview, the patient reported frequent episodes of dizziness on leaning towards her left side. A transthoracic echocardiogram was obtained and showed a giant, solid, smooth, mobile mass in LA, attached to the interatrial septum causing severe obstruction of the mitral valve in diastole (Figure 1(b)). The patient was diagnosed with LA myxoma and scheduled for surgical resection (Figure 1(c)). The tumor was removed with its short stalk and a part of surrounding interatrial septum. A pericardial patch was used to close the septal defect. The giant resected tumor (7.7 × 5.5 × 3.7 cm) had a nodular hemorrhagic surface and mucoid glistening variegated cut surface with focal hemorrhage (Figure 1(d)). Histopathology demonstrated abundant myxoid stroma and scattered polygonal cells with scanty cytoplasm, typical of myxoma. No mitotic figures were seen. Myxoma cells formed rings, cords, and nests around the capillaries and were immunoreactive to calretinin (Figure 1(e)). Patient tolerated the procedure well and her symptoms resolved.

3. Discussion

Myxomas are thought to originate from multipotential mesenchymal cells of the endocardium [1]. They are benign but may have abnormal DNA content [2]. Around 7% of cases are familial, Carney syndrome (autosomal dominant multiple neoplasia and lentiginosis) being the outstanding example [3]. Myxomas are usually solitary but multiple atrial, biatrial, atrioventricular, and biventricular tumors have been reported. They usually range in size between 0.4 and 6.5 cm [4]. Recurrence rate is about 5% [5]. Symptoms could be nonspecific. Common presentations include manifestations of left ventricular failure, syncope (secondary to mitral valve obstruction), embolic, and constitutional symptoms (fever, fatigue, weight loss, and increased erythrocytic sedimentation rate). Constitutional symptoms are related to increased plasma levels of interleukin-6 [2]. Large tumors are related to atrial fibrillation. The presence of a mobile component on transesophageal echocardiogram is found in most myxomas presenting with neurologic manifestations. The tumor could be fatal secondary to a massive embolic stroke or mitral valve obstruction. Hence, prompt surgical resection is advised to avoid embolic events and sudden death [6].

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.


  1. L. Johansson, “Histogenesis of cardiac myxomas: an immunohistochemical study of 19 cases including one with glandular structures and review of the literature,” Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, vol. 113, no. 7, pp. 735–741, 1989. View at: Google Scholar
  2. E. Acebo, J. F. Val-Bernal, J. J. Gómez-Román, and J. M. Revuelta, “Clinicopathologic study and DNA analysis of 37 cardiac myxomas: a 28-year experience,” Chest, vol. 123, no. 5, pp. 1379–1385, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  3. J. A. Carney, H. Gordon, P. C. Carpenter, and B. V. Shenoy, “The complex of myxomas, spotty pigmentation, and endocrine overactivity,” Medicine, vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 270–283, 1985. View at: Google Scholar
  4. V. H. Lee, H. M. Connolly, and R. D. Brown Jr., “Central nervous system manifestations of cardiac myxoma,” Archives of Neurology, vol. 64, no. 8, pp. 1115–1120, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  5. S. Bjessmo and T. Ivert, “Cardiac myxoma: 40 years' experience in 63 patients,” Annals of Thoracic Surgery, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 697–700, 1997. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  6. K. Reynen, “Medical progress: Cardiac myxomas,” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 333, no. 24, pp. 1610–1617, 1995. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar

Copyright © 2014 Medhat F. Zaher et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

More related articles

 PDF Download Citation Citation
 Download other formatsMore
 Order printed copiesOrder

Related articles