Secreting vagal paraganglioma

Jan C. Groblewski, Apurva Thekdi, Ricardo L. Carrau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Paragangliomas are rare tumors that derive from neural crest tissue. Vagal paragangliomas account for only 3% of all head and neck paragangliomas. Patients with vagal paragangliomas typically present with an asymptomatic neck mass and, less frequently, with cranial neuropathies. It is estimated that only 1% to 3% of all head and neck paragangliomas secrete catecholamines. The incidence of secreting vagal paragangliomas is even smaller. The diagnosis of a secreting paraganglioma involves the use of a screening test for serum catecholamines and a 24-hour urinary test for catecholamine metabolites. The identification and staging of these tumors can be performed through the use of MRI and/or CT scans and an octreotide scintigraphy. The mainstay treatment is surgical extirpation; however, preoperative medical blockade is critical to avoid a hypertensive crisis intra-operatively. We present two illustrative cases of secreting vagal paragangliomas involving a complex diagnostic and therapeutic algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-300
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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