Sudden death by massive systemic embolism from cardiac myxoma. Role of the clinical autopsy and review of literature

Antonio Oliva, Marco Dell'Aquila, Arnaldo Carbone, Ilaria Pennacchia, Egidio Stigliano, Vincenzo Arena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Cardiac myxoma is a rare benign neoplasm of the heart. Historically myxomas were incidental findings during autopsies, however improved imaging techniques made these diagnosis possible in living patients, making the surgical treatment of these neoplasms achievable. Cardiac myxomas may occur both sporadically and in a familial context, often in the clinico-pathological picture of the Carney complex. While familial myxomas occur in the context of well-known genetic mutations, the molecular etiology of sporadically occurring myxomas is still not completely clear. We must note however that many of the patients affected by myxomas are asymptomatic; when symptoms are present they are often nonspecific and hard to decipher, especially when referring to sporadically occurring heart myxomas. In this paper we describe a case of sudden death from the massive embolization of a left atrial cardiac myxoma. We also reviewed all the cases in the literature of sudden death from heart myxoma embolism. An accurate epidemiology of heart myxomas would be the key to outline the best treatment practices and the etiology of sporadic myxomas, nevertheless this target could only be pursued with a deep revaluation of the clinical autopsy as a fundamental diagnostic tool.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107244-107248
Number of pages5
JournalCardiovascular Pathology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Adult
  • Atrial myxoma
  • Autopsy
  • Biopsy
  • Cause of Death
  • Clinical autopsy
  • Death, Sudden
  • Embolism
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Heart Neoplasms
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myxoma
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating
  • Sudden death


Dive into the research topics of 'Sudden death by massive systemic embolism from cardiac myxoma. Role of the clinical autopsy and review of literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this