When Shortness of Breath Gets Misdiagnosed: Atrial Myxoma Case Report

Sahaam Mirza, Kansas City University
Tori Tyler, Kansas City University
Robert Stauffer, Freeman Health System


The vague presentation of an atrial myxoma makes accurate diagnosis difficult. This case report reviews the case of a 54-year-old female who presented to the Emergency Department complaining of shortness of breath and back pain. Prior to her Emergency Department evaluation, she had been given a diagnosis with pneumonia. Upon further evaluation, she was diagnosed with a large left atrial myxoma that was surgically removed via median sternotomy. After recovering from her surgery, the patient had a full resolution of her symptoms. Although the treatment for myxomas has a high success rate of full recovery, the difficulty in diagnosis poses problems for patients and can prolong symptoms due to potential misdiagnosis.