An atrial myxoma is a rare tumor that develops from the connective tissue in the upper chamber of the heart. Although a myxoma is not typically a cancerous tumor, it can have dangerous complications. It can cause the blockage of blood flow or spread to other areas if blood clots form. In turn, this will allow tissue from the tumor to attach to the clot material.
The biggest risk factor for developing an atrial myxoma is family history of cardiac myxoma. Other conditions may be associated with or due to atrial myxoma, as well:
• Tissue death in the bowel
• Recent peripheral emboli
• Recent pulmonary emboli
• Recent systematic emboli
• Mitral stenosis
Symptoms of an atrial myxoma may include:
• Chest pain or tightness
• Swelling of the hands, feet, or any body part
• Swelling of the abdomen
• Prominent veins in the neck
• Shortness of breath
• Heart palpitations
• Symptoms of arterial embolism
Currently, the only effective treatment to remove the tumor is through open-heart surgery. During surgery, the tumor and the section of the heart wall to which it is attached are removed.
See your doctor immediately if you’re suffering from any symptoms related to atrial myxoma for an accurate diagnosis.