Carotid body size measured by computed tomographic angiography in individuals born prematurely

Melissa L. Bates, Brian T. Welch, Jess T. Randall, Humphrey G. Petersen-Jones, Jacqueline K. Limberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: We tested the hypothesis that the carotid bodies would be smaller in individuals born prematurely or exposed to perinatal oxygen therapy when compared individuals born full term that did not receive oxygen therapy. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on patients who underwent head/neck computed tomography angiography (CTA) at the Mayo Clinic between 10 and 40 years of age (n = 2503). Patients were identified as premature ( < 38 weeks) or receiving perinatal oxygen therapy by physician completion or billing codes (n = 16 premature and n = 7 receiving oxygen). Widest axial measurements of the carotid body images captured during the CTA were performed. Results: Carotid body visualization was possible in 43% of patients and 52% of age, sex, and body mass index (BMI)-matched controls but only 17% of juvenile preterm subjects (p = .07). Of the carotid bodies that could be visualized, widest axial measurements of the carotid bodies in individuals born prematurely (n = 7, 34 ± 4 weeks gestation, birth weight: 2460 ± 454 g; average size: 2.5 ± 0.2 cm) or individuals exposed to perinatal oxygen therapy (n = 3, 38 ± 2 weeks gestation, Average size: 2.2 ± 0.1 cm) were not different when compared to controls (2.3 ± 0.2 cm and 2.3 ± 0.2 cm, respectively, p > 0.05). Conclusions: Carotid body size, as measured using CTA, is not smaller in adults born prematurely or exposed to perinatal oxygen therapy when compared to sex, age, and BMI-matched controls. However, carotid body visualization was lower in juvenile premature patients. The decreased ability to visualize the carotid bodies in these individuals may be a result of their prematurity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Breathing
  • Carotid body
  • Computed tomography
  • Hypoxia
  • Prematurity
  • Ventilation
  • Ventilatory drive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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