Pheochromocytoma symptoms, treatment and diagnosis

The pheochromocytoma is a hormonal-active adrenal tumor located in the chromaffin tissue of the gland or in the brain substance.

Pheochromocytoma of the adrenal glands is the most poorly studied endocrinological pathology. Some moments of its origin and development are unknown until now. For people suffering from hereditary diseases, the family form of pheochromocytoma is characteristic.

Symptoms of pheochromocytoma of the adrenal glands

The main symptom is hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension can be permanent or episodic. In the second case, the attack is provoked by emotional experience, increased physical exertion, gluttony. During an attack of hypertension, the following symptoms occur.

  • Headache.

  • Nausea, vomiting.

  • Severe sweating.

  • Pale skin.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Unpleasant sensation in the abdomen and chest.

    When the attack passes, the symptomatology disappears completely. Sharply reduced blood pressure until the hypotension.

    It is necessary to differentiate the pheochromocytoma of the adrenal glands with other diseases characterized by the following symptoms:

  • hyperventilation syndrome,

  • anxiety attacks,

  • tides during menopause,

  • convulsions,

  • increased need for caffeine,

  • short-term loss of consciousness.

  • Complicated pheochromocytoma is manifested by psychosis, neurasthenia, heart failure, hyperglycaemia, drooling, etc.


    The presence of catecholamines in the tissues of the urogenital system of the bronchi and adrenal glands is a clinical symptom of pheochromocytoma, which will be a good help in diagnosis. In addition, the diagnosis of important features of fluctuations in the patient's blood pressure, as well as monitoring of cardiac activity, heart rate. During the diagnosis, MRI and CT are performed.

    Treatment of pheochromocytoma

    The most radical method of treatment of pheochromocytoma of the adrenal glands is surgical removal of this tumor. But such removal is not always possible, it can be carried out only in the case of stable blood pressure. Precisely for this purpose, before the surgery for the removal of pheochromocytoma, the patient is usually prescribed A-blockers: Fentolamine, Phenoxybenzamine, Tropafen and others.

    The choice of the method of treatment of pheochromocytoma largely depends on the characteristics of the tumor itself. For surgical intervention during the operation, transthoracic, transperitoneal, extraperitoneal or combined accesses provide good manipulation.

    The highest efficiency from surgical treatment - with single tumors. In this case, relapses occur only in 15% of all cases of the disease.

    A single standard in surgical therapy of pheochromocytoma with multiple tumors does not exist. Complete removal of all tumors is considered appropriate, but because of the serious risk during surgery for the patient from this method must be abandoned. In such cases, resection of tumors is usually carried out in several stages or only a part of tumors are removed.

    The conservative treatment of adrenal pheochromocytoma is considered the least effective. Such treatment is aimed at reducing the level of catecholamines in the cells of the body. This is done by taking medications based on A-methyltyrosinome. Such treatment can reduce by 80% the amount of catecholamines and thereby prevent the possibility of the appearance of a hypertensive crisis. But it should be remembered that regular intake of A-methyltyrosinum is capable of leading to disorders of the psyche and the gastrointestinal tract.