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2021 May 04

Ann Cardiol Angeiol (Paris)

Pheochromocytoma presenting as an authentic small vessel vasculitis and complicated with pulmonary embolism: An original presentation.


Toujani S, Abida R, El Ouni A, Belhassen A, Abdelkefi C, Meddeb Z, Larbi T, Hamzaoui S, Bouslama K
Ann Cardiol Angeiol (Paris). 2021 May 04.
PMID: 33962783.


Diagnosis of pheochromocytoma can be simple when classic manifestations are present. It can also be challenging and complicated in some cases because of its wide array of faces and presentations. We present a case of a 30-year-old female patient who came with acute respiratory distress, chest pain, hemoptysis, asthenia, anorexia, weight loss of 20kg, and paresthesia in her lower limbs. Clinical examination found high blood pressure, accelerated heart and respiratory rates, signs of acute right heart failure with jugular venous distention and ankle edema, reticularis livedo in the four limbs, ulcers in both knees and in the 3rd metacarpo-phalangeal articulations and necrotic lesions in both calcaneal tendons and in the right toes. Further investigations concluded on myocarditis associated with alveolar hemorrhage, pericardic and pleuritic effusions and a segmental pulmonary embolism of the right inferior lobe. Neuro-muscular biopsy was suggestive of myositis. Cutaneous biopsy found nonspecific chronic dermatitis. ANCA antibodies were tested twice and were negative. Cryoglobulinemia was also negative. Thoraco-abdomino-pelvic scan was performed showing a large right adrenal mass suggestive of pheochromocytoma. Diagnosis of right adrenal pheochromocytoma was confirmed by MIBG-I123 hyperfixation findings and urinary normetanephrin levels. The patient was treated surgically. Postoperative outcomes were remarkably favorable with a complete regression of the cutaneous lesions and normalization of the blood pressure. Paresthesia significantly decreased. Control echocardiography at 3 months showed an improved heart function with a persistent apical and septal akinesis.