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Papers of the Week

2021 Mar 03




Pheochromocytoma Crisis in the Emergency Department.


Bartikoski SR, Reschke DJ
Cureus. 2021 Mar 03; 13(3):e13683.
PMID: 33833909.


Pheochromocytoma is a rare, often undiagnosed adrenal tumor that typically presents in early adulthood and is characterized by intermittent surges of catecholamines. While this "Great Mimic" may present with a variety of vague complaints such as headache, abdominal pain, or palpitations, it may also appear as a severely hypertensive patient with multi-organ failure and cardiopulmonary collapse known as pheochromocytoma crisis. Management of hypertensive emergency in these patients is unique, and the associated metabolic derangements, coagulopathy, thromboembolic events, and risk of adrenal capsule rupture add significant complexity, morbidity, and mortality to these cases. Emergency providers should learn when to suspect this uncommon but life-threatening diagnosis in order to properly manage these potentially critically ill patients.