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atrial myxoma

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Atrial myxoma is the commonest primary cardiac tumour. It usually arises as a polypoid, gelatinous structure attached by a pedicle to the left atrium. Myxomas may arise less commonly in the right atrium or the ventricles.

General features include dyspnoea, syncope or a mild fever, and weight loss. Auscultation may reveal a mid-diastolic murmur produced by the tumour mass obstructing the valve orifice during ventricular filling.

Investigations show a raised ESR and characteristic echocardiography.

Untreated, the myxoma may result in thrombus formation and subsequent embolism, and permanent mitral valve obstruction.

Surgical removal is completely curative.

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