March 1997

Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approaches to Carotid Body TumorsReview of 24 Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Angiology (Drs Muhm and Ehringer), Vascular Surgery (Drs Polterauer and Staudacher), Otolaryngology (Drs Gstöttner and Temmel), Neurosurgery (Dr Richling), Maxillofacial Surgery (Dr Undt), and General Surgery (Dr Niederle), University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Arch Surg. 1997;132(3):279-284. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430270065013

Objective:  To determine the clinical characteristics of carotid body tumors to define better a standardized proceeding in the management of carotid body tumors.

Design:  Retrospective survey. Duration of postoperative follow-up was 4 months to 16 years (median, 57 months).

Setting:  Institutional, tertiary care medical center.

Patients:  Consecutive sample of 24 patients (10 men and 14 women) with 28 carotid body tumors treated in the University of Vienna (Austria) General Hospital in 35 years.

Interventions:  Surgical resection, preoperative embolization.

Main Outcome Measures:  Initial signs, duration of symptoms, extension of the tumors, methods of investigations, and treatment modality, with special respect to the operative technique.

Results:  Doppler color flow imaging and angiography provided essential mainstays for definite diagnosis. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging contributed additional information about tumor extension. Nineteen patients (79%) underwent surgical resection of 22 tumors, 8 (42%) after preoperative embolization. There were no perioperative deaths. Hemiplegia occurred in 1 patient, and cranial nerve palsy occurred in 5 patients. Tumor recurrence was observed in 3 patients. Five patients refused surgery or tumors were unresectable.

Conclusions:  Our standard diagnostic procedure consists of establishing diagnosis by Doppler color flow sonography, angiography for detailing the vascularization of the tumor, and selective embolization to enable safer surgery with less bleeding. Early surgery is recommended to minimize major risks.Arch Surg. 1997;132:279-284