Right atrial myxoma as a possible cause of hemorrhagic stroke and sudden death
AbstractRight atrial myxomas are rare primary tumors of the heart. They may remain asymptomatic or eventually cause constitutional signs and symptoms. Less frequently, obstruction of the tricuspid valve occurs, resulting in exertional dyspnea, syncope, or sudden death. Neurological manifestation as initial presentation of atrial myxomas is rarely, if ever, associated with right atrial myxomas and may be secondary to cerebral infarction, cerebral hemorrhage and, more rarely subarachnoid hemorrhage. We review the case of a previously unknown, middle‑aged Nigerian man who presented to hospital with severe headache and sudden loss of consciousness. A clinical diagnosis of hypertensive hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident was made. The patient died suddenly a few hours after presentation. Post‑mortem examination revealed a small intracerebral hemorrhage in the left superior temporal lobe as well as a large right atrial myxoma, a ventricular septal defect in the muscular septum, and right ventricular hypertrophy. The liver showed fatty change while the kidneys showed evidence of benign nephrosclerosis. Right atrial myxomas may, therefore, be remotely considered as a cause of intracranial hemorrhage, especially in the presence of predisposing cardiac anomalies such as a ventricular septal defect. Similarly, being a known cause of right heart failure, sudden death, and other constitutional derangements, it may contribute significantly to disease outcome. Hence, it should be given due consideration in the differential diagnosis of cerebrovascular accidents.
Keywords: Cause and contributor, disease outcome, left hemorrhagic stroke, right atrial myxoma, sudden death
Nigerian Medical Journal | Vol. 53 | Issue 2 | April-June | 2012