Pheochromocytoma: An Easily Overlooked Cause of Secondary Hypertension (Scientific Article) (Clinical Report)

Pheochromocytoma: An Easily Overlooked Cause of Secondary Hypertension (Scientific Article) (Clinical Report)

Background Pheochromocytoma is relatively uncommon, occurring in less than 0.1% of all patients with hypertension (1). Usually, but not always, pheochromocytoma presents with severe hypertension that may be paroxysmal or sustained (2). Additional symptoms include severe headaches, sweating, and palpitations. Despite these presenting symptoms diagnosis is often delayed due to the uncommon occurrence of pheochromocytoma. Patients may or may not be successfully treated with multidrug therapy. Diagnosis is made with the combination of laboratory testing and imaging modalities, usually urine metanephrines and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). To make matters even more complicated, some patients may be asymptomatic entirely. Pheochromocytoma is occasionally diagnosed only upon finding an incidental adrenal tumor. It is difficult to differentiate pheochromocytoma from incidental adrenal tumors with conventional MRI or CT. In such cases, 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy (MIBG) can distinguish chromaffin tissue characteristic of pheochromocytoma from other adrenal tumors (3,4). Surgical excision is typically curative for isolated adrenal pheochromocytoma and is warranted to prevent potentially lethal complications such as cardiogenic shock and hemorrhagic stroke (5).

Pheochromocytoma: An Easily Overlooked Cause of Secondary Hypertension (Scientific Article) (Clinical Report)



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