Unsuspected pheochromocytoma: risk of blood-pressure alterations during percutaneous adrenal biopsy

Radiology. 1986 Jun;159(3):733-5. doi: 10.1148/radiology.159.3.3517958.


Four unsuspected pheochromocytomas were discovered during percutaneous fine-needle biopsy of the adrenal gland under ultrasound (n = 1) and computed tomographic (n = 3) guidance. One patient suffered an acute episode of alternating hypertension and hypotension during the procedure. A second patient had no alterations in vital signs during the procedure but had a severe hypertensive crisis during induction of anesthesia at surgery. Neither biopsy nor surgery affected the vital signs in the other two patients. During biopsy study of adrenal lesions, the possibility of unsuspected pheochromocytoma should be considered, and the interventional radiologist must be familiar with the emergency treatment of hypotensive or hypertensive crises that may occur.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Adrenal Glands / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle / adverse effects*
  • Biopsy, Needle / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypotension / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pheochromocytoma / diagnosis*
  • Pheochromocytoma / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography