Fulminant adrenergic myocarditis complicated by pulmonary edema, cardiogenic shock and cardiac arrest

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Adrenergic myocarditis is an uncommon presentation of pheochromocytoma and extremely rare cause of de novo acute heart failure (AHF). We present a case of a 31-year-old Caucasian woman with a history of hypertension and recurrent occipital headaches who was admitted to the emergency department due to severe de novo AHF presenting as pulmonary edema and cardiogenic shock. During the hospital admission the patient experienced asystolic cardiac arrest and was successfully resuscitated, intubated, and mechanically ventilated. Bedside transthoracic echocardiography revealed severe diffuse left ventricular hypokinesis with ejection fraction (LVEF) of 10%. Coronary angiography disclosed normal epicardial coronary arteries. The diagnosis of fulminant myocarditis was based on clinical, laboratory and imaging findings including cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) Lake Louise criteria. STIR-cMRI sequences revealed myocardial edema in the lateral, inferior and posterior walls of the left ventricle, whereas T1-weighted early contrast-enhanced sequences showed myocardial hyperemia and capillary leak. An ultrasound and computed tomographic scan of the abdomen disclosed a solid, heterogeneous mass (3.6 × 3.2 × 2.8-cm) in the right suprarenal area. Urinary and plasma catecholamines and metanephrines were markedly elevated. A pheochromocytoma was suspected and laparoscopic resection of the tumor was performed after pharmacological preparation with phenoxybenzamine. The histopathological findings were consistent with pheochromocytoma. Follow-up cMRI showed complete reversal of myocardial edema and hyperemia. At 12-month follow-up, the patient has remained asymptomatic and normotensive with no recurrence of cardiovascular symptoms.

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