Pheochromocytoma crisis due to glucocorticoid administration: a case report and review of the literature

Arch Iran Med. 2009 Mar;12(2):190-4.


We report a patient who presented with two episodes of severe hypertension after intramuscular injection of betamethasone. The first attack was associated with pulmonary edema, while the second attack was associated with high anion gap metabolic acidosis, renal failure, hyperglycemia, and hypokalemia. The attacks led to the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma, which was confirmed by appropriate diagnostic tests. The tumor was excised successfully and the patient is presently asymptomatic.We believe that these episodes were initiated by glucocorticoid injection, an event reported in a few cases. We briefly review potential mechanisms resulted in hypertensive crisis in such patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / complications
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / surgery
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / urine
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Adult
  • Betamethasone / adverse effects*
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / chemically induced*
  • Incidental Findings
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Metanephrine / urine
  • Pheochromocytoma / complications
  • Pheochromocytoma / diagnosis*
  • Pheochromocytoma / surgery
  • Pheochromocytoma / urine
  • Vanilmandelic Acid / urine


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Metanephrine
  • Vanilmandelic Acid
  • Betamethasone