Myxoma (Heart Tumour)

A Myxoma is an irregularly shaped jelly-like non-cancerous primary tumour. It is a rare heart disease that is usually found in the left atrium of the heart. It is sometimes  referred to as an Atrial Myxoma.

A Myxoma is often said to grow in the left atrium from a stalk and then it tends to swing freely with the blood flow. But as it swings, it so happens that the Myxoma swings in and out of the mitral valve, thereby causing obstruction. This obstruction caused by the Myxoma to the mitral valve may result in decrease in the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle.

Symptoms

There are a few common symptoms seen in people suffering from Myxoma. The most common symptom is that, they develop high fever or tend to feel short of breath. The other symptoms of Myxoma are fainting, anaemia, pain due to the toes, fingers getting cold, etc. These symptoms occur mainly because the person will be deprived of oxygen rich blood.In extreme cases it may even lead to heart failure. However, the symptoms mostly depend on which artery is blocked. A blocked artery in the lung may result in acute pain whereas a blocked artery in the brain could lead to strokes.

Different types of Myxoma

Now that we have seen the different symptoms of Myxoma, let us now see the different types of Myxoma. Yes, there are different types of Myxoma. They are, intramuscular Myxoma, superficial angiomyxoma, aggressive angiomyxoma, nerve sheath Myxoma, etc.
Myxoma is a primary heart tumour wherein the tumour starts from the heart. Though the causes are not evident, Myxomas are more common in women. About ten percent of Myxoma is passed down through families.

Tests and diagnosis

As said earlier, Myxomas are normally based on the symptoms and these symptoms are based on the artery that has been blocked. The doctors can detect Myxoma by the abnormal sound produced in the heart with the help of a stethoscope. The problem with the diagnosis of the disease is that none of the tests are conclusive. However, blood tests may show inflammation, anaemia, and a low number of platelets in the blood. The diagnosis of Myxoma is confirmed by echocardiography. Sometimes, doctors will also have to take help from the other procedures like angiography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and biopsy in order to confirm the diagnosis. 

Treating Myxoma

Once the diagnosis is completed, the next phase is the treatment phase. Myxoma’s are usually removed surgically. The surgeon removes the Myxoma along with a minimum of at least 4mm of atrial septum. The septum is then repaired, using material from the pericardium. Surgical removal of the Myxoma usually cures the person. After surgery, echocardiography is performed periodically for about 5 years in order to make sure that the Myxoma does not occur again.
 
Finally, the immediate first aid to be given to the person who has Myxoma is to make the person lie down. Lying down will help because the Myxoma tends to move away from the valve it has been blocking thereby relieving the symptoms.