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Objective: Report our experience of the management of a patient with undiagnosed retroperitoneal paraganglioma and the intraoperative complications that the theatre team faced.
Case report: We present a case of a 36-year-old patient who during oncological follow-up for a previous diagnosis of parotid acinar cell carcinoma was incidentally identified as having an interaortocaval tumour. Following routine preoperative assessment the patient was arranged to undergo a laparoscopic retroperitoneal tumour resection. After minimal tumour manipulation the patient developed cardiac rhythm abnormalities and became hypertensive. The tumour was successfully removed laparoscopically after a cautious inter- aortocaval dissection. Abruptly, prior to extraction of the tumour containing endobag, the patient developed cardiac arrest. Following 35 minutes of life support measures there was a return of spontaneous circulation. The endobag was laparoscopically removed from the abdominal cavity 24 hours later using the initial operative port sites. The patient´s progression was satisfactory and he could be discharged six days postoperatively.
Conclusions: Asymptomatic undiagnosed paragangliomas represent a real challenge during laparoscopic operations. Haemodynamic changes and life-threatening events can arise acutely intraoperatively, where an immediate and coordinated response of the whole theatre team may be required to avoid fatal outcome.