UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Atrial Myxomas

Keywords: Stroke, Embolus, Retinal artery occlusion (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/16/2007 by Sean Fox, MD (Updated: 10/14/2019)
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Atrial Myxomas:

  • Rare primary heart tumor
  • Most involve the left side of the heart
  • Symptoms may include fatigue, fever, rash, chest pain, syncope, and/or focal neuro deficits
    • Symptomatic emboli occur in 20-45% of pts with atrial myxomas
    • >50% of emboli go to the brain
    • Hemiplegia, aphasia, retinal artery occlusion, embolic “rash” in a child should all raise concern for cardiac source in pediatric pt.
      • Embolus from the heart is the most common cause of retinal artery occlusion in pts <40yrs.
  • Emboli are most often myxoma tissue and not blood clot (so thrombolytics aren’t of much value)


Majeed Al-Mateen, et al. Cerebral Embolism From Atrial Myxoma in Pediatric Patients. Pediatrics, Aug 2003; 112: e162 - e167.