THE SMALL encapsulated structure at or near the bifurcation of the common carotid artery and known as the carotid body has received sporadic attention since its first description by von Haller in 1743. The physiology of this organ has received most of the attention, although its pathologic lesions have not been exempt from discussion. Opinions still differ as to the origin of the carotid body even though the majority now consider it similar to that of the adrenal medulla.
In 1944 a concise summary and review of the physiology of the carotid body was presented by Dripps and Comroe.1 Briefly, it may be said that this body is a chemoreceptor, in contrast to the carotid sinus, which is a pressoreceptor. Response to stimulation of the former results in increased respiratory rate, increased sympathetic activity and increased cerebral cortical activity.
Atrophy and fibrosis may be found in elderly subjects, but
CORBETT AJ, McCLINTOCK JC. TUMOR OF THE CAROTID BODY ASSOCIATED WITH NODULAR GOITER: Report of a Case. Arch Surg. 1950;60(1):81–86. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1950.01250010097008
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