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Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2019 Jan 17;90(4):297-298. doi: 10.4081/aiua.2018.4.297.

Undiagnosed paraganglioma; A challenge during laparoscopic retroperitoneal resection.

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SLK Kliniken Heilbronn, Department of Urology, University of Heidelberg, Germany; School of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México City.
School of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México City
SLK Kliniken Heilbronn, Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Heidelberg Germany



Report our experience of the management of a patient with undiagnosed retroperitoneal paraganglioma and the intraoperative complications that the theatre team faced.


We present a case of a 36-year-old patient who during oncological follow-up for a previous diagnosis of parotid acinar cell carcinoma was incidentally identified as having an interaortocaval tumour. Following routine preoperative assessment the patient was arranged to undergo a laparoscopic retroperitoneal tumour resection. After minimal tumour manipulation the patient developed cardiac rhythm abnormalities and became hypertensive. The tumour was successfully removed laparoscopically after a cautious inter- aortocaval dissection. Abruptly, prior to extraction of the tumour containing endobag, the patient developed cardiac arrest. Following 35 minutes of life support measures there was a return of spontaneous circulation. The endobag was laparoscopically removed from the abdominal cavity 24 hours later using the initial operative port sites. The patient´s progression was satisfactory and he could be discharged six days postoperatively.


Asymptomatic undiagnosed paragangliomas represent a real challenge during laparoscopic operations. Haemodynamic changes and life-threatening events can arise acutely intraoperatively, where an immediate and coordinated response of the whole theatre team may be required to avoid fatal outcome.

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