Cardiol Rev. 2002 Jan-Feb;10(1):44-50. doi: 10.1097/00045415-200201000-00009.


Pheochromocytomas cause the most dramatic, life-threatening crises in all of endocrinology. Pheochromocytoma is an explosive clinical syndrome characterized by severe hypertension associated with cardiac complications, hypotension, or even shock and sudden death. The key to diagnosing pheochromocytoma is to suspect it, then confirm it. The cases reported in this review illustrate how the diagnosis can be easily missed and definitive treatment delayed. An appreciation of the wide range of clinical manifestations, based on clear understanding of the mechanisms of catecholamine action and the pathophysiology of pheochromocytoma, and the availability of simple and accurate diagnostic tests should lead to earlier detection of these tumors. Advances in localization techniques and availability of various treatment modalities have made successful management more promising than ever before.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / complications
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Catecholamines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Labetalol / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Metanephrine / urine*
  • Pheochromocytoma / complications
  • Pheochromocytoma / diagnosis*
  • Pheochromocytoma / drug therapy
  • Prazosin / therapeutic use


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Catecholamines
  • Metanephrine
  • Labetalol
  • Prazosin