|Doctors perform a surgical removal of cardiac myxoma. - Photo tuoitre.vn|
HA NỘI – Đỗ Thị Mến, 63, from Yên Phong District, Bắc Ninh Province, suddenly experienced shortness of breath while playing with her grandchild. Her son rushed her to the provincial hospital. The diagnosis results showed she had a tumor in the left atrium and needed surgery to remove it as soon as possible.
Cardiac myxoma, also known as atrial myxoma, is a benign tumor of the heart. About 75 per cent of cardiac myxomas appear in the left atrium of the heart. According to Lê Ngọc Thành, director of Hospital E in Hà Nội, women have a higher chance of suffering and account for 75 per cent of patients. Anyone aged from three years old can have myxoma. The average age of sufferers is 37 and there are more young women diagnosed with cardiac myxoma.
The incident rate of cardiac myxoma is from 0.2 to 0.3 per 1000 people. Meanwhile, symptoms of the disease are commonly vague, even the first symptom can be a stroke which may lead to death.
Fortunately, as Mến’s son works in the medical field, she was transferred to Hospital E to have a surgery. After a week, she completely recovered and was discharged from the hospital.
Speaking to VTC , Lê Ngọc Thành said Mến’s case was serious as the tumor was large and had high mobility. Therefore, it could have broken or detached from the atrial septum, causing vascular occlusion.
According to the doctor, cardiac myxoma develops in the wall which divides the two upper chambers of the heart. The most common symptom is shortness of breath with activity, accounting for 75 per cent. In more serious cases, patients experience difficulty breathing in the upright position or when asleep. Other symptoms include dizziness, chest pain or tightness and fainting.
“A patient with cardiac tumor may have a tumor plop, an abnormal heart sound caused by the tumor’s movement which can be heard through a stethoscope by a doctor during an examination. Electrocardiogram, echocardiography and cardiac catheterization are other ways to diagnosis the disease,” Thanh said.
A patient with a cardiac myxoma must have surgery immediately to prevent any dangerous complications. According to him, to remove a tumor, doctors have to perform an open heart surgery with a long cut of 20 to 25 cm in which a patient’s breastbone is sawed then repaired using wires. The method not only causes pain, leaves bad scars and imposes a threat of breastbone inflammation.
Since 2015, Hospital E has offered 3D laparoscopy to remove cardiac myxoma as a type of a minimally invasive heart surgery.
“After undergoing the surgery, patients will not need to use any painkiller and also can take care of themselves a week after having a tumor removed,” said Lê Ngọc Thành from Hospital E.
However, better prevent than cure. Doctors recommend people to have echocardiography to detect the disease at its early stage. – VNS