Neurologic manifestations of atrial myxoma A 12-year experience and review

Laurie E. Knepper, José Biller, Harold P. Actams, Askiel Bruno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


We present the results of a 12-year retrospective analysis of 11 patients, eight women and three men, aged 16–76 years, with pathologically documented atrial myxomas. Nine of the 11 patients were found to have a left atrial myxoma; right atrial myxomas were identified in two. Five of the 11 patients (45%) had abnormalities on neurologic examination, and five of five had computed tomographic evidence of nonhemorrhagic cerebral infarction. Neurologic symptoms were the initial presentation in four patients. Six patients reported a history of cardiac disease; eight of the 11 had abnormalities on cardiac auscultation. Echocardiography in 10 patients was diagnostic in all but one. Gated magnetic resonance imaging of the heart in two patients demonstrated myxoma position and movement. Follow-up examinations (varying from 1 month to 7 years after tumor resection) in nine of 11 patients demonstrated no recurrent neurologic symptoms. Cerebral infarction is a common complication of atrial myxomas and may be the presenting feature. Recurrent cerebral emboli before surgery is not uncommon. Cardiac auscultation may be normal, and electrocardiographic changes are often nonspecific. Delayed neurologic events following surgery are rare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1435-1440
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral infarction
  • Echocardiography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Myxoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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