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Retropharyngeal course of the internal carotid artery
  1. Stanislas Ballivet de Regloix1 and
  2. O Maurin2
  1. 1 ENT - Head and neck surgery, Percy Military Training Hospital, Clamart, France
  2. 2 Emergency Department, Fire Fighting Brigade of Paris, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stanislas Ballivet de Regloix, 101, avenue Henri Barbusse, Clamart 92140, France; stanbdr{at}


A 77-year-old male patient presented with dysphonia. Endoscopic examination demonstrated a distortion of the posterior pharyngeal wall, which was pulsatile. The axial CT showed left internal carotid artery in a retropharyngeal location. An anomalous course of the carotid artery in the retropharyngeal space is an unusual finding that poses a risk of vascular injury during pharyngeal surgery and intubation. Such an anomaly may be congenital (incomplete descent of the third aortic arch) and may be more pronounced in older patients secondary to atherosclerosis and hypertension as occurred in our case noted here.

  • carotid artery
  • pharynx
  • surgery
  • intubation

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  • Contributors Each of the authors has read and concurs with the content of the final manuscript. All of the authors have made substantial contributions to the following: the acquisition of data, the drafting and the critical revision of the article for important intellectual content.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

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