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Carotid Body Tumor Resection: Just as Safe without Preoperative Embolization

Adrienne N Cobb, Adel Barkat, Witawat Daungjaiboon, Pegge Halandras, Paul Crisostomo, Paul C Kuo, Bernadette Aulivola
Annals of Vascular Surgery 2020, 64: 163-168

BACKGROUND: Carotid body tumors (CBTs) are rare entities for which surgical resection remains the gold standard. Given their hypervascularity, preoperative embolization is often used; however, controversy exists over whether a benefit is associated. Proponents of embolization argue it minimizes blood loss and complications. Critics argue cost and stroke outweigh benefits. This study aimed to investigate the impact of embolization on outcomes after CBT resection.

METHODS: Patients undergoing CBT resection were identified using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Database for 5 states during the years 2006-2013. Patients were divided into 2 groups: carotid body tumor resection alone (CBTR) and carotid body embolization prior to tumor resection (CBETR). Descriptive statistics were calculated using arithmetic means with standard deviations for continuous and proportions for categorical variables. Patients were propensity score matched on the basis of sex, age, race, insurance, and comorbidity before analysis. Risk-adjusted odds of mortality, stroke, nerve injury, blood loss, and length of stay (LOS) were calculated using mixed-effects regression models with fixed effects for age, race, sex, and comorbidities.

RESULTS: A total of 547 patients were identified. Of these, 472 underwent CBTR and 75 underwent CBETR. Mean age was 54.7 ± 16 years. Mean number of days between embolization and resection was 0.65 ± 0.72, (range 0-3) days. When compared to CBTR, there were no significant differences in mortality for CBETR (1.35 vs. 0% P = 0.316), cranial nerve injury (2.7 vs. 0% P = 0.48), and blood loss (2.7 vs. 6.8% P = 0.245). After risk adjustment, CBETR increased the odds of prolonged LOS (OR: 5.3; CI 2.1-13.3).

CONCLUSIONS: CBT resection is a relatively rare procedure. The utility of preoperative tumor embolization has been questioned. This study demonstrates no benefit of preoperative tumor embolization.

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