Point of controversy: perioperative care of patients undergoing pheochromocytoma removal-time for a reappraisal?

Eur J Endocrinol. 2011 Sep;165(3):365-73. doi: 10.1530/EJE-11-0162. Epub 2011 Jun 6.


Adrenalectomy for pheochromocytoma is reported with a mortality close to zero in recent studies. The dogma of preoperative fluid and hypotensive drug administrations is widely applied in patients scheduled for pheochromocytoma removal and is assumed to have a beneficial effect on operative outcomes. This paradigm is only based on historical studies of non-standardized practices and criteria for efficacy, with no control group. Pre- and intraoperative hypovolemia have never been demonstrated in patients scheduled for pheochromocytoma removal. Recent improvements in outcome of patients undergoing adrenalectomy for pheochromocytoma could also be the result of improvement in surgical techniques and refinement in anesthetic practices. Whether better knowledge of the disease, efficiency of available intravenous short-acting vasoactive drugs, and careful intraoperative handling of the tumor make it possible to omit preoperative preparation in most patients scheduled for pheochromocytoma removal is presently questionable. We reviewed available literature in this respect.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Adrenalectomy / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Intraoperative Care
  • Perioperative Care*
  • Pheochromocytoma / surgery*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / surgery