Familial atrial myxoma is a type of non-cancerous tumor that often develops in an area or chamber of the heart known as the atria. The heart contains 4 chambers: 2 atria that form the upper part of the heart, and 2 ventricles that form the lower part of the heart. The right and left sides of the heart each contain an atrium and a ventricle. The most common location where familial atrial myxoma develops is within the left atrium, on the wall that separates the right and left sides of the heart. Although less common, these tumors can also occur in the ventricles of the heart. Tumors form when a mutation in DNA causes certain cells to grow out of control, resulting in the formation of a mass or a lump.
Familial atrial myxoma most commonly occurs in adults between the ages of 30 and 50, although it can appear in all age groups. The most common symptoms of atrial myxoma include difficulty breathing, chest pain, a tight feeling in the chest, dizziness, and fainting. The severity of symptoms varies based on the size of the tumor, and smaller tumors are often asymptomatic. Diagnosis may involve a physical exam, imaging studies, and other laboratory studies.
Treatment for familial atrial myxoma depends on many factors such as how large the tumor is and its location in the body. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with familial atrial myxoma, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also available for more resources and information.