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Papers of the Week

2022 Nov 17

J Endocr Soc



Pheochromocytoma-induced Subarachnoid and Intracerebral Hemorrhage.


Agoubi LL, Khot SP, Failor AR, Zern NK
J Endocr Soc. 2022 Nov 17; 7(1):bvac176.
PMID: 36466006.


Pheochromocytomas are rare adrenal tumors that are often diagnosed in workup for endocrine causes of refractory hypertension, as an incidental imaging finding, or in patients with classic symptoms of headache, palpitations, and/or diaphoresis. We describe a case of pheochromocytoma presenting in a 63-year-old woman with spontaneous and multifocal subarachnoid and intracerebral hemorrhage without underlying vasculopathy. The patient previously had no documented episodes of hypertension and took no regular medications. She experienced sudden-onset severe headache and presented with hypertensive crisis. Cranial imaging showed bifrontal and right temporal convexal subarachnoid and intracerebral hemorrhage of unknown etiology. Cranial arterial catheterization showed no vascular malformation underlying the site of hemorrhage. Given concern for potential malignant etiology, cross-sectional body imaging was performed that revealed a 7-cm right adrenal heterogeneous mass. Biochemical workup demonstrated markedly elevated plasma metanephrine and normetanephrine levels, diagnostic of pheochromocytoma. She underwent α- and β-blockade, and evaluation with a multidisciplinary team including repeat intracranial imaging to ensure resolution of the intracranial bleeding before definitive surgical management. She then underwent successful laparoscopic adrenalectomy. This case demonstrates that the workup of cryptogenic intracranial hemorrhage and hypertensive crisis should include evaluation for catecholamine-secreting tumors.