Primary tumors of the heart, although rare, are being recognized more frequently as a result of increasing interest in cardiovascular surgery and improvement in diagnostic techniques. Intracardiac myxomata comprise some 50% of primary cardiac tumors and are located in the left atrium in approximately 75% of cases. Myxomata occur in persons of all ages, including the newborn, but the majority of patients are between 30 and 60 years of age. The lesion occurs in females three times as frequently as in males. Although the majority of these lesions arise at the fossa ovalis, in some cases the point of attachment is the valve of the inferior vena cava and the left ventricle.
Tumors of the heart drew the attention of pathologists as early as the 17th century, as evidenced by the writings of Malpighi, in 1666, in "De polypo cordis dissertatio," and many others, quoted at length in the monograph