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Atrial Myxomas in the Elderly: A Case Report and Review of the Literature


Frank I. Marcus, MD, University of Arizona, Sarver Heart Center, 1501 North Campbell, Room 5152, P.O. Box 245037, Tucson, AZ 85724


Although rare, atrial myxomas constitute the most common benign cardiac tumor. The diagnosis of myxomas in the elderly has traditionally been considered an even more unusual phenomenon. Most recently, with the advent of more accurate imaging techniques, their incidence in the elderly has been noted to be higher than originally described. Atrial myxomas should be included in the differential diagnosis of elderly patients presenting with progressive, nonspecific constitutional complaints, since early diagnosis and surgical removal can lead to quick resolution of symptoms and avoidance of devastating complications like peripheral embolism and valve dysfunction.