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Phaeochromocytomas presenting as acute crises after beta blockade therapy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Latika Sibal, Dr Ana Jovanovic, Dr Sharad Agarwal, Dr Robert James, Professor Thomas Lennard, Richard Bliss, Andrew Batchelor, Dr Petros Perros

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Abstract

Objective Phaeochromocytoma crisis is a life-threatening emergency that may be undiagnosed because of its numerous, nonspecific manifestations. We analysed, retrospectively, the presentation, management and outcome of patients who were admitted to our institution with phaeochromocytoma crises over a 5-year period. Results Five patients (two males, three females; mean age 34.6 years, range 19-51 years) who presented as emergencies requiring intensive care, with multiple non-specific manifestations and previously undiagnosed pheochromocytoma, were identified. The initial presentation included features of cardiomyopathy (n = 3), atypical pneumonia with myocarditis (n = 1) and acute abdomen (n = 1). Only one of the five cases had a raised blood pressure at the time of the acute presentation. Initiation of beta blockers in four patients was associated with further deterioration in haemodynamic status, labile blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias, which led to the diagnosis of the underlying phaeochromocytoma. Following intensive supportive therapy and alpha blockade, all five patients recovered and underwent elective surgical removal of phaeochromocytoma, uneventfully. Conclusion Unexplained cardiopulmonary dysfunction, particularly after the institution of beta blockers, should alert clinicians to the possibility of phaeochromocytoma. A high index of suspicion is essential to reduce morbidity and mortality in these patients through early diagnosis and aggressive management.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Sibal L, Jovanovic A, Agarwal SC, Peaston RT, James RA, Lennard TWJ, Bliss R, Batchelor A, Perros P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Unknown

Journal: Clinical Endocrinology

Year: 2006

Volume: 65

Issue: 2

Pages: 186-190

ISSN (print): 0300-0664

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2265

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2265.2006.02571.x

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2006.02571.x


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