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December 1970

Cardiac Myxoma: A Clinicopathologic and Angiographic Study

Author Affiliations

From the Charles S. Kubik Laboratory for Neuropathology of the James Homer Wright Pathology Laboratories, Massachusetts General Hospital (Dr. Price), and the departments of neurologyneuropathology, pathology (Dr. Harris), radiology (Dr. New), and surgery (Dr. Cantu), Harvard Medical School, Boston. Dr. Price is a research fellow in biology at Harvard University and Dr. Harris is a teaching fellow in pathology at the Harvard Medical School.

Arch Neurol. 1970;23(6):558-567. doi:10.1001/archneur.1970.00480300080011

THERE are now over 350 reported cases of cardiac myxoma, a slowly-growing intracavitary tumor, most frequently occurring in the left atrium.1,2 Cardiac myxomas manifest themselves clinically by obstruction of cardiac flow, by constitutional effects, and by embolization. Systemic emboli have been reported in up to 45% of patients with left atrial myxoma.3-5 In cases where inconspicuous cardiac symptoms and signs are combined with multiple cerebral emboli, a difficult diagnostic problem confronts the clinician. Maroon and Campbell6 have pointed out the importance of atrial myxoma as one of the potentially treatable causes of cerebrovascular occlusion.

The present report describes the case of a young woman in whom a left atrial myxoma with disseminated emboli gave rise to pathologic changes in cerebral vessels unlike any that we had previously seen or that had been described by others. Because of the puzzling clinical course, the striking abnormalities visualized by

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