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Journal of Medical Case Reports

, 6:158

First Online: 20 June 2012Received: 02 November 2011Accepted: 16 March 2012DOI: 10.1186-1752-1947-6-158

Cite this article as: Lin, WC., Wang, HY., Chang, CW. et al. J Med Case Reports 2012 6: 158. doi:10.1186-1752-1947-6-158


IntroductionRetroperitoneal neoplasms are rare and easily misdiagnosed. These tumors are often discovered incidentally during imaging studies performed for other reasons. Paragangliomas are tumors that arise from extra-adrenal medullary neural crest derivatives. They are usually located in the head and neck but can be found in various body sites, including the chest cavity, abdomen, pelvis and bladder. We report the case of a patient who had a retroperitoneal paraganglioma manifested as paralytic ileus, which is an unusual presentation of a paraganglioma.

Case presentationA 63-year-old Taiwanese woman was admitted to the emergency department of our hospital with progressive abdominal fullness for two days. Her medical history included medically controlled hypertension for 10 years and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Plain abdominal radiography showed a solitary loop of the air-filled dilated small bowel. Abdominal computed tomography did not show a mechanical obstruction; however, a retroperitoneal mass was incidentally detected. Histological analysis of the mass led to a diagnosis of a paraganglioma.

ConclusionsIn cases of patients with hypertension presenting with an intestinal pseudo-obstruction, a paraganglioma may be considered as a possible differential diagnosis of retroperitoneal tumors to avoid risky therapeutic procedures or medication that may produce severe adverse effects.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1752-1947-6-158 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Wei-Chen Lin - Horng-Yuan Wang - Chen-Wang Chang - Jiun-Lu Lin - Chung-Hsin Tsai


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