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Glomus Jugulare Tumor

General Information

  • Arising from the glomus bodies located within the ear, they are the most common tumors of the middle ear.
  • These tumors are slow-growing and very vascular, with blood supply from the external carotid artery and internal carotid artery.
  • These tumors are most common in women.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms include hearing loss with pulsing ringing in the ear, dizziness and ear pain.
  • Physical exam will find hearing loss and abnormalities of the cranial nerves that control swallowing, gagging, shoulder shrugging and tongue movements
  • When the eardrum is examined, a red/blue pulsing mass can often be seen.

Diagnosis

  • These tumors are diagnosed by neurophysiological testing, and computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • In addition, an endocrine work-up and urine tests should be performed.

Treatment

  • Medical therapy
    • For tumors that actively secrete hormones and neurotransmitters, medical therapy can ease the symptom and be useful prior to surgery.
    • Alpha and beta blockers are given before surgery to block possibly lethal blood pressure abnormalities and heart arrhythmias.

  • Surgery
    • These tumors are very vascular; therefore, pre-operative blockage of the blood supply to the tumor is often performed.
    • Possible complications of surgery include persistent leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the ear, and also damage to one of the nerves controlling face movement, sensation or hearing.
    • Even though the surgery may be successful glomus jugulare tumors are somewhat problematic because they have a high recurrence rate and may require multiple operations.

  • Radiation
    • Radiation may relieve symptoms and stop growth in spite of persistent tumor mass.

The Neuro-ICU cares for patients with all types of neurosurgical and neurological injuries, including stroke, brain hemorrhage, trauma and tumors. We work in close cooperation with your surgeon or medical doctor with whom you have had initial contact. Together with the surgeon or medical doctor, the Neuro-ICU attending physician and team members direct your family member's care while in the ICU. The Neuro-ICU team consists of the bedside nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians in specialty training (Fellows) and attending physicians. UCLA Neuro ICU Family Guide 
 

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