Pheochromocytoma - NYSORA

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Learning objectives

  • Describe pheochromocytoma
  • Recognize the symptoms and signs of pheochromocytoma
  • Anesthetic management of a patient with a pheochromocytoma

Definition and mechanisms

  • Pheochromocytomas are neuroendocrine tumors arising from chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla
  • Pheochromocytomas synthesize and secrete catecholamines (i.e., dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine)
  • The clinical presentation depends on the profile of the catecholamine secretion
  • Neuroendocrine chromaffin tumors arising outside of the adrenal medulla are called paragangliomas

Signs and symptoms

Less common symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation

Risk factors


Hypertension can damage other organs, particularly the cardiovascular system, brain, and kidneys. This damage may result in the following critical conditions:


  • Primary treatment: Surgery to remove the tumor


pheochromocytoma, preoperative, intraoperative, postoperative, management, alpha-blockers, phenoxybenzamine, doxazosin, beta-blockers, atenolol, metoprolol, ECG, echocardiography, sodium nitroprusside, esmolol, phentolamine, magnesium sulphate, hydrocortisone, prednisolone, norepinephrine, vasopressin, hypertension, hypotension

Suggested reading

  • Connor D, Boumphrey S. Perioperative care of phaeochromocytoma. BJA Education. 2016;16(5):153-158.
  • Domi R, Sula H. Pheochromocytoma, the Challenge to Anesthesiologists. Journal Of Endocrinology And Metabolism. 2011;1(3):97-100.

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