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Case Reports in Otolaryngology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7603814, 4 pages
Case Report

Vagal Paraganglioma Presenting as a Neck Mass Associated with Cough on Palpation

Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Miriam A. O’Leary

Received 26 February 2017; Accepted 15 May 2017; Published 22 June 2017

Academic Editor: Abrão Rapoport

Copyright © 2017 Richard Heyes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A 70-year-old female presented with a neck mass and sporadic dry cough, often leading to fits of coughing severe enough to cause vomiting. The patient reported that touching the mass triggered the cough. On examination, a 2.5 cm right-sided level two neck mass deep to the sternocleidomastoid was present. Palpation of the mass immediately triggered coughing. Cross-sectional imaging proposed vagal paraganglioma as the chief differential, which was confirmed following surgical excision. The patient reported complete resolution of her severe dry cough after surgery. Vagal paragangliomas are rare neuroendocrine tumors arising from the neural crest-derived paraganglionic tissue surrounding the vagus nerve, typically presenting as a neck mass associated with hoarseness or pulsatile tinnitus. To the best of our knowledge this is a unique description in the English literature. This case is presented to aid physicians should they encounter a neck mass associated with cough. Vagal paraganglioma, although rare, should be part of the differential in such a presentation.