THE PREOPERATIVE diagnosis of a carotid body tumor may tax the acumen and ingenuity of the most experienced and careful surgeon. Symptoms and signs are rarely specific, and often misleading. An extensive review of the literature indicates a correct preoperative diagnosis in only 10% of the reported cases.
Recent reports1,2 stress the potential malignancy of carotid body tumors. Fanning, Woods and Christian2 list 25 malignant cases with proved metastases to the regional lymph nodes or to distant sites. This awareness of malignant changes along with advances in anesthesia and surgical technique, has directed fresh attention to the surgical management of these tumors. The indications for surgical removal of a carotid body tumor, and the selection of a specific surgical technique call for a thorough angiographic investigation.
The value of carotid angiography was first mentioned by Engström and Hamberger3 in 1957, for the diagnosis of a bilateral carotid