Surgical Excision of Cardiac Myxomas: Twenty Years Experience at a Single Institution

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Primary cardiac tumors are quite uncommon and myxomas constitute the major proportion among these masses. The present study summarizes our 20-year clinical experience with surgical resection of intracardiac myxomas.


Between January 1990 and December 2007, 98 patients (42 males, mean age 60.4 ± 4.1 years) underwent complete excision of primary intracardiac myxoma. In 84 patients the origin site of the tumor was located in the left atrium, and the most common implant site was the interatrial septum. The most common symptom at admission was dyspnea, while systemic embolization was observed in 37 patients. Preoperative diagnosis was established in all patients by transthoracic echocardiography. All patients were operated through median sternotomy.


Ninety-five patients (97%) survived the operation. Mean tumor dimension was 2.7 ± 1.3 cm in largest diameter. According to the St. John Sutton classification (St. John Sutton MG, Mercier LA, Giuliani ER, et al. Atrial myxomas: a review of clinical experience in 40 patients. Mayo Clin Pro 1980;55:371–6), solid tumors were detected in 43 patients (44%), while a papillary myxoma was found in 55 patients (56%). The follow-up was 100% complete, and the mean time to last follow-up was 98 ± 60 months. Of the 95 survivors, 3 patients (3%) died at a mean follow-up of 72 ± 45 months after surgery. Actuarial survival was 98%, 98%, and 89% at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. One patient operated for left atrial myxoma resection showed a recurrence 68 months after the first surgery.


Although cardiac myxomas carry the risk of severe systemic and cardiac symptoms, prompt surgical excision gives excellent early and long-term results.

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