We analyzed a series of 112 consecutive cases of left atrial myxoma diagnosed in a single French hospital (72 women and 40 men; age range, 5-84 yr) over 40 years, from 1959 to 1998. Symptoms of mitral valve obstruction, the first arm of the classic triad of myxoma presentation, were present in 75 patients (67%), with mostly cardiac failure or malaise. Symptoms of embolism, the second frequent presentation in the classic triad, were observed in 33 cases (29%) with 1 or several locations, essentially cerebral emboli with stroke. Males are statistically at greater risk than females of developing embolic complications. The third arm of the classic triad consists of constitutional symptoms (34%) with fever, weight loss, or symptoms resembling connective tissue disease, due to cytokine (interleukin-6) secretion. Younger and male patients have more neurologic symptoms, and female patients have more systemic symptoms. Seventy-two patients (64%) had cardiac auscultation abnormalities, essentially pseudo-mitral valve disease (53.5%) and more rarely the suggestive tumor plop (15%). The most frequent electrocardiographic sign was left atrial hypertrophy (35%), whereas arrhythmias were uncommon. The greater number of myxoma patients (98) diagnosed preoperatively after 1977 reflects the introduction of echocardiography as a noninvasive diagnostic procedure. However, there was no significant reduction in the average time from onset of symptoms to operation between patients seen in the periods before and after 1977. The tumor diameter ranged from 1 to 15 cm with a weight of between 15 and 180 g (mean, 37 g). The myxoma surface was friable or villous in 35% of the cases, and smooth in the other 65% cases. Myxomas in patients presenting with embolism have a friable surface; those in patients with cardiac symptoms, pseudo-mitral auscultation signs, tumor plop, and electrocardiogram or radiologic signs of left atrium hypertrophy and dilatation are significantly the larger tumors. The long-term prognosis is excellent, and only 4 deaths occurred among our 112 cases over a median follow-up of 3 years. The recurrence rate is low (5%), but long-term follow-up and serial echocardiography are advisable especially for young patients.