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J Vasc Surg. 2000 Apr;31(4):806-10.

Baroreflex failure syndrome after bilateral excision of carotid body tumors: an underestimated problem.

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  • 1First Department of Surgery, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy.


Carotid body tumors (CBTs) are relatively rare paragangliomas that develop from neural crest cells at the bifurcation of the common carotid artery. They are generally slow growing and benign. Excision is currently considered the treatment of choice, although vascular and especially neural injuries are still relatively frequent in patients with large or bilaterally resected tumors. The baroreflex failure syndrome (BFS) has recently been identified as a severe, rarely recognized, and certainly underestimated complication after the bilateral excision of CBTs. The present report describes a case of a bilateral CBT followed by BFS and reviews the experiences reported in the literature. In light of the low incidence of malignancy of these tumors, their biologic behavior, their very high rate of cranial nerve palsy, and the occurrence of BFS in bilaterally resected paragangliomas, the current practice of bilaterally removing these tumors is questioned.

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