Cardiac myxomas: a long term study

J Neurol. 1995 Oct;242(10):689-94. doi: 10.1007/BF00866921.


From 1980 to 1992 we followed 12 patients with cardiac myxomas for an average of 4.4 years (8 months-11 years). Presenting symptoms were neurological in four patients (hemiparesis, aphasia, visual field deficits, progressive dementia or vertigo), progressive dyspnoea in six, pulmonary embolism in one, and peripheral arterial or renal emboli in three. The diagnosis was suspected clinically in 11 patients. It was confirmed by echocardiography in ten and by thoracic CT in one. All these patients had cardiac surgery. One diagnosis was made at autopsy; the patient died unexpectedly during surgery for emboli to the leg arteries. At follow-up, two additional patients had died, one from myocardial infarction and one from rhabdomyosarcoma. Only one of the nine surviving patients had recurrent symptoms after cardiac surgery. His dementia continued to progress. The patients without new symptoms after cardiac surgery had normal MRI of the brain or residual ischaemic lesions. MRI of the patient with progressive dementia showed multiple cerebral lesions with a bright centre and a dark rim on T1- and T2-weighted spin-echo images. On CT there were many calcified lesions. CT, MR angiography and contrast angiography revealed multiple fusiform aneurysms. The rare occurrence of progressive neurological symptoms after myxoma resection with multiple cerebral lesions and aneurysms should suggest myxoma metastases to the brain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aphasia / etiology
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Neoplasms / complications
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Heart Neoplasms / surgery
  • Hemiplegia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myxoma / complications
  • Myxoma / diagnosis*
  • Myxoma / surgery
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vertigo / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology