Myxoma

Monday, March 28, 2011

Myxoma is a benign tumor of the heart. Usually located in either the left or right atrium, a myxoma is an abnormal growth which consists of a stalk-shaped mass of primitive connective tissue which grows on the wall of the interatrial septum. Approximately 85% of myxomas occurs in the left atrium. An atrial myxoma may create an extra heart sound, audible to auscultation just after S2. About 10% of myxomas are an inherited condition passed down through families. Such tumors are called familial myxomas. They tend to occur in more than one part of the heart at a time, and often cause symptoms at a younger age than other myxomas.

A myxoma is a primary cardiac (heart) tumor. This means that the tumor started within the heart. Primary cardiac tumors are rare. Myxomas are the most common type of these rare tumors. Myxomas are more common in women. Symptoms may include breathing difficulty when asleep, shortness of breath (dyspnea), tachycardia, chest pain, etc. Myxomas are usually removed surgically. The surgeon removes the myxoma, along with at least 5 surrounding millimeters of atrial septum. The septum is then repaired, using material from the pericardium.