Multiple intracranial aneurysms as delayed complications of an atrial myxoma: case report

Neurosurgery. 2001 Jul;49(1):200-2; discussion 202-3. doi: 10.1097/00006123-200107000-00031.


Objective and importance: Atrial myxomas are rare cardiac tumors that may cause neurological complications; however, delayed neurological events after total tumor resection are rare. In this report, we present a patient who developed transient cerebral ischemic attacks and was found to have multiple intracranial aneurysms 5 years after successful resection of her atrial myxoma. At the time of myxoma resection, there were no neurological symptoms; at the time of presentation with transient ischemic attacks, there was no evidence of atrial recurrence.

Clinical presentation: A 32-year-old woman presented with five episodes of right arm and face paresthesia, each lasting 15 to 20 minutes, 5 years after successful resection of her atrial myxoma. Clopidogrel bisulfate therapy was initiated, with resolution of her symptoms. Angiography revealed multiple, peripherally located, fusiform cerebral aneurysms.

Intervention: A left frontal craniotomy for resection and biopsy of one of the aneurysms was performed, to establish the diagnosis. Pathological analysis of the biopsied aneurysm provided evidence of direct atrial myxoma invasion and occlusion of the cerebral blood vessel.

Conclusion: Neurological symptoms may accompany or lead to the diagnosis of atrial myxoma. Rarely, as in this case, myxomatous aneurysms may develop years after definitive treatment of the primary tumor. Patients who have undergone successful resection of a left atrial myxoma may be at risk for delayed cerebral ischemia associated with aneurysm development, and this phenomenon must be considered for patients with neurological symptoms who present even years after myxoma removal. The natural history, pathophysiological features, and treatment dilemma of these aneurysms are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Female
  • Heart Atria
  • Heart Neoplasms / complications*
  • Heart Neoplasms / pathology
  • Heart Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / etiology*
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery
  • Myxoma / complications*
  • Myxoma / pathology
  • Myxoma / surgery
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Time Factors