Massive left atrial calcification: a case report and review of the literature

Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017 Nov;65(11):653-656. doi: 10.1007/s11748-017-0753-5. Epub 2017 Feb 7.


Left atrial (LA) calcification is mostly observed in patients with rheumatic mitral valve (MV) diseases who underwent surgical treatment. We report a case of LA calcification in a 69-year-old woman presented with dyspnea and cyanosis. Admission electrocardiogram showed atrial fibrillation and biventricular hypertrophy. Her chest roentgenogram revealed cardiomegaly and a curvilinear whitish shadow in the area of LA. Transthoracic echocardiography revealed severe mitral stenosis and massive LA thrombosis. The patient underwent an emergent surgery, during which the whitish line on chest roentgenogram proved to be a calcified LA inner wall. During an on-pump surgery with cardioplegic arrest, she underwent open MV commissurotomy along with the excision of calcified LA wall and clots. The patient was discharged with no complications. Literature reviews showed that this entity is mainly observed in patients with rheumatic heart disease and presented with respiratory symptoms. The diagnostic modalities, management, and prognosis of previous cases were summarized.

Keywords: Left atrial calcification; Mitral valve disease; Rheumatic heart disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Calcinosis / complications*
  • Calcinosis / diagnosis
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Cardiomyopathies / complications*
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Atria / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Atria / surgery
  • Humans
  • Mitral Valve Stenosis / diagnosis
  • Mitral Valve Stenosis / etiology*
  • Mitral Valve Stenosis / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease / complications*
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease / diagnosis