Head-and-neck paragangliomas are associated with sleep-related complaints, especially in the presence of carotid body tumors

B. Havekes*, F. Kastelein, A.A. van der Klaauw, N. Duinen, J.C. Jansen, J.W. Smit, K.W. van Kralingen, A.H. Vriends, J.A. Romijn, E.P. Corssmit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


The carotid body functions as a chemoreceptor. We hypothesized that head-and-neck paragangliomas (HNP) may disturb the function of these peripheral chemoreceptors and play a role in sleep-disordered breathing.

This is a case-control study.

This study was conducted in a tertiary referral center.

We assessed fatigue, sleep, and exercise capacity in 74 HNP patients using three questionnaires (Epworth Sleepiness Scale, St. George Respiratory Questionnaire, and a standard clinical sleep assessment questionnaire). Outcomes were compared to those of age- and sex-matched controls.

Activity, disturbance of psychosocial function, and total score were worse compared to controls (15.4 +/- 18.5 vs. 7.2 +/- 9.9, P = 0.007; 5.3 +/- 10.5 vs. 1.2 +/- 2.6, P = 0.008; and 10.4 +/- 12.9 vs. 5.0 +/- 4.8, P = 0.006, respectively). Patients reported more daytime fatigue, concentration difficulties, and depression (51% vs. 24%, P = 0.006; 31% vs. 10%, P = 0.010; and 19% vs. 2%, P = 0.012). Waking up was reported to be less refreshing in HNP patients (53% vs. 73%, P = 0.038). Dysphonia was a predictor of symptoms, activity, disturbance of psychosocial function, and total scores. Remarkably, the presence of a carotid body tumor was an independent predictor of increased daytime sleepiness (beta = 0.287, P = 0.029). In conclusion, patients with HNP have remarkable sleep-related complaints. Especially the presence of carotid body tumors appears to be associated with increased daytime somnolence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalSleep and Breathing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Paraganglioma
  • Glomus tumors
  • Carotid body tumor
  • Sleep
  • SDHD mutation
  • SDHD
  • GENE

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