Acute and Chronic Pheochromocytoma-Induced Cardiomyopathies: Different Prognoses?: A Systematic Analytical Review

Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Dec;94(50):e2198. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000002198.


Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PPG) are rare and late-diagnosed catecholamine secreting tumors, which may be associated with unrecognized and/or severe cardiomyopathies. We performed a computer-assisted systematic search of the electronic Medline databases using the MESH terms "myocarditis," "myocardial infarction," "Takotsubo," "stress cardiomyopathy," "cardiogenic shock", or "dilated cardiomyopathy," and "pheochromocytoma" or "paraganglioma" from 1961 to August 2012. All detailed case reports of cardiomyopathy due to a PPG, without coronary stenosis, and revealed by acute symptoms were included and analyzed. A total of 145 cases reports were collected (49 Takotsubo Cardiomyopathies [TTC] and 96 other Catecholamine Cardiomyopathies [CC]). At initial presentation, prevalence of high blood pressure (87.7%), chest pain (49.0%), headaches (47.6%), palpitations (46.9%), sweating (39.3%), and shock (51.0%) were comparable between CC and TTC. Acute pulmonary edema (58.3% vs 38.8%, P = 0.03) was more frequent in CC. There was no difference in proportion of patients with severe left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LV Ejection Fraction [LVEF] < 30%) at initial presentation between both groups (P = 0.15). LVEF recovery before (64.9% vs 40.8%, P = 0.005) and after surgical resection (97.7% vs 73.3%, P = 0.001) was higher in the TTC group. Death occurred in 11 cases (7.6%). In multivariate analysis, only TTC was associated with a better LV recovery (0.15 [0.03-0.67], P = 0.03). Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma can lead to different cardiomyopathies with the same brutal and life-threatening initial clinical presentation but with a different recovery rate. Diagnosis of unexplained dilated cardiomyopathy or TTC should lead clinicians to a specific search for PPG.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / complications*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cardiomyopathies / diagnosis*
  • Cardiomyopathies / etiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Pheochromocytoma / complications*
  • Pheochromocytoma / pathology
  • Prognosis