Imagine waking up to find you’ve been badly hurt but have no idea what happened.
That's what happened to an Avon woman at her home, after she had been living with a tennis-ball sized tumor inside of her heart.
“It looked like a murder scene. I had hit my head against a chest, I had fallen over and bled profusely,” said Marcia Cox, of Avon.
The last thing on her mind last Thanksgiving was a tennis-ball sized tumor, until she blacked out and woke up to a bloody scene inside her home. A friend encouraged her to go to the emergency room immediately.
“Probably was carrying it around for a number of years, but there was just no sign of that,” Cox said.
Doctors at the Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health marvel at how lucky Cox is today.
They discovered that she had been living with a 6.5-centimeter tumor in the middle of her heart.
“I never knew there was such a thing as a myxoma,” Cox said.
A myxoma, or non-cancerous tumor, is what caused her to black out that day, hit her head, and wonder what happened.
She may not have been checked out had her friend not pushed her to see a doctor that day.
She was admitted that night.
“It's extremely rare,” said Dr. Kai Chen, a cardiologist at Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health.
Chen reviews images from Cox’s ultrasound known as an echocardiogram.
For myxoma, the majority of the patients do not have any symptoms. The growth formed in both chambers of her heart.
“So they had to cut me open and pull it out and then I was put back together,” Cox said.
During surgery, a portion of her heart, the septum, was actually reconstructed with tissue from a cow.
She was hospitalized for nearly two weeks for open heart surgery.
In some cases, these tumors cause heart failure or even sudden death.
“An early diagnosis is a challenge,” Chen said.
However, she said the tumors can be easily detected with a noninvasive ultrasound.
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