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Case Report of Left Atrial Myxoma Diagnosed by Bedside Echocardiography

Authors: Anthony S. Machi, Joseph Minardi


We present a case report of left atrial myxoma diagnosed by bedside transesophageal (TEE) ultrasound. Left atrial myxoma is the most common benign cardiac tumor and can obstruct blood flow and cause valvular insufficiency. Common symptoms consist of dyspnea, pulmonary edema and other features of left heart failure in addition to thrombus release in the form of tumor fragments. The availability of bedside ultrasound equipment is essential for the quick diagnosis and treatment of various emergency conditions including cardiac neoplasms. A 48-year-old Caucasian female with a four-year history of an untreated renal mass and anemia presented to the ED with two months of sharp, intermittent, bilateral flank pain radiating into the abdomen. She also reported intermittent vomiting and constipation along with generalized body aches, night sweats, and 100-pound weight loss over last year. She had a CT in 2013 showing a 3 cm left renal mass and a second CT in April 2016 showing a 3.8 cm left renal mass along with a past medical history of diverticulosis, chronic bronchitis, dyspnea on exertion, uncontrolled hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Her maternal family history is positive for breast cancer, hypertension, and Type II Diabetes. Her paternal family history is positive for stroke. She was a current everyday smoker with an 11 pack/year history. Alcohol and drug use were denied. Physical exam was notable for a Grade II/IV systolic murmur at the right upper sternal border, dyspnea on exertion without angina, and a tender left lower quadrant. Her vitals and labs were notable for a blood pressure of 144/96, heart rate of 96 beats per minute, pulse oximetry of 96%, hemoglobin of 7.6 g/dL, hypokalemia, hypochloremia, and multiple other abnormalities. Physicians ordered a CT to evaluate her flank pain which revealed a 7.2 x 8.9 x 10.5 cm mixed cystic/solid mass in the lower pole of the left kidney and a filling defect in the left atrium. Bedside TEE was ordered to follow up on the filling defect. TEE reported an ejection fraction of 60-65% and visualized a mobile 6 x 3 cm mass in the left atrium attached to the interatrial septum extending into the mitral valve. Cardiothoracic Surgery and Urology were consulted and confirmed a diagnosis of left atrial myxoma and clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The patient returned a week later due to worsening nausea and vomiting and underwent emergent nephrectomy, lymph node dissection, and colostomy due to a necrotic colon. Her condition declined over the next four months due to lung and brain metastases, infections, and other complications until she passed away.

Keywords: Emergency Medicine, Echocardiography, bedside ultrasound, left atrial myxoma

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