Objective: Paragangliomas are slow-growing tumours that present with varied clinical spectra. Early recognition is paramount in achieving reduced morbidity and mortality. There is a paucity of data regarding head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGs) in the Caribbean literature. This study aimed to reflect the clinical experience in the management of HNPGs at two Jamaican tertiary referral centres: the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).
Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on all patients presenting to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) departments of the UHWI in 2004–14 and of the KPH in 2012–14 with the diagnosis of a HNPG.
Results: There were 15 patients, 1 male and 14 females. The average age at presentation was 47.1 years. The HNPGs in this series included eight patients with glomus tympanicum (GT, 53%), four with glomus jugulare (GJ, 27%), two with carotid body tumours (CBTs, 13%) and one with glomus vagale (GV, 7%). Eight patients underwent surgical resection (two CBTs, four GT and two GJ). Treatment outcomes achieved included: complete resection (four patients), stable with residual disease (two patients), and recurrence (two patients). Seven patients were awaiting definitive treatment, one patient with GJ was referred overseas, and one patient with GV defaulted.
Conclusion: Glomus tympanicum is the most common HNPG in this series which contrasts with that of most international series. Despite the limitations within this region, such as limited access to angio-embolization and stereotactic modalities, the management outcomes are similar in some respects to the reported international literature.