Clinical Note |

Branchial Cleft Cyst Causing Carotid Sinus Syndrome

Alan A. Z. Alexander, MD, MSc; Jan C. Groblewski, MD; Bruce J. Davidson, MD
Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009;135(10):1045-1047. doi:10.1001/archotol.125.12.1390.
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Branchial cleft cysts are one of the most common congenital anomalies. They may present in different locations, although they are often found along the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM). Pain, superinfection, and symptoms due to mass effect have been reported.1 We describe a patient with a very rare complication of significant bradycardia due to carotid sinus compression that was caused by a branchial cleft cyst. Although cardiac sick sinus syndrome has been a recognized but rare complication of head and neck cancers, congenital neck masses have not been well documented as a cause.2 To our knowledge, there has been no prior report of a branchial cleft cyst causing carotid sinus bradycardia.

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Computed tomogram demonstrating a left neck cystic lesion, which was later diagnosed as a branchial cleft cyst. Note the relation and proximity to the carotid sheath.

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