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A multicenter review of carotid body tumour management

M S Sajid, G Hamilton, D M Baker
European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 2007, 34 (2): 127-30

OBJECTIVE: Carotid body tumour (CBT) is a rare but the most common form of head and neck paraganglioma (PGL). We present the biggest ever series on CBT in UK/EU discussing diagnostic challenges, surgical treatment and complications of surgical intervention.

METHOD: A detailed proforma was designed and sent to all members of Joint Vascular Research Group (JVRG). Data of 95 patients was collected. Generic terms including carotid body tumour/s, or paraganglioma/s were used to search a variety of electronic database in order to get latest informations available in literature.

RESULTS: A total of 95 patients were recorded in our data from 1979 to 2005. Mean age of presentation was 55 years. Incidence was higher in females. CBT was more common on right side (58%). 18% tumours were bilateral. Neck lump (98%) and pressure symptoms including cranial nerve deficits and pain were main presenting complaints. About 18% of tumours were familial. Only 4.2% were malignant. Duplex scan is the best investigation for diagnosis, though MRI, DSA and CT scan are important for preoperative assessment. Surgery is the treatment of choice. Stroke and cranial nerve injury constitute postoperative morbidity (35%) and mortality (1%). Incidence of postoperative cranial nerve deficit was about 19%. Combined ipsilateral and contralateral recurrence rate was 4.2%.

CONCLUSION: CBT is a rare condition which needs surgical excision by experienced vascular surgeon. Surgical resection is associated with significant morbidity of 35% and mortality of 1%. Mostly CBT is benign but malignant forms are not uncommon.

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