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Case report
Case of vago-glossopharyngeal neuralgia secondary to metastatic oropharyngeal cancer
  1. Melissa Anne Whitman1,
  2. Artrish Jefferson1,
  3. Thais Pincelli1 and
  4. Devang K Sanghavi2
  1. 1Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA
  2. 2Department of Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA
  1. Correspondence to Melissa Anne Whitman; mwhitman{at}


Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GN) is a rare pain syndrome caused by compression of the glossopharyngeal nerve. It is typically idiopathic and often goes misdiagnosed because of its similarities to trigeminal neuralgia. Vago-glossopharyngeal neuralgia, an even rarer subset of GN, occurs when the pain is accompanied by syncope and/or arrhythmia. Here, we present the case of a 54-year-old man with oropharyngeal cancer that metastasised to areas within his left carotid sheath. He presented with numerous intermittent episodes of pain, accompanied by vagal episodes. While this presentation is similarly described in prior case reports, our case is unique in that the syndrome occurred as a direct sequelae of a metastatic tumour completely encasing the left internal carotid artery.

  • adult intensive care
  • cranial nerves
  • pain (neurology)

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  • Contributors MW and AJ wrote the manuscript with support from TP and DS. TP was directly involved in the patient’s care. DS supervised this work and provided constructive feedback. All authors provided critical feedback and helped shape the research, analysis and development of this manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.