Cardiovascular manifestations of phaeochromocytoma

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Abstract

Clinical expression of phaeochromocytoma may involve numerous cardiovascular manifestations, but usually presents as sustained or paroxysmal hypertension associated with other signs and symptoms of catecholamine excess. Most of the life-threatening cardiovascular manifestations of phaeochromocytoma, such as hypertensive emergencies, result from a rapid and massive release of catecholamines from the tumour. More rarely, patients with phaeochromocytoma present with low blood pressure or even shock that may then precede multisystem crisis. Sinus tachycardia, with palpitations as the presenting symptom, is the most prevalent abnormality of cardiac rhythm in phaeochromocytoma, but tumours can also be associated with more serious ventricular arrhythmias or conduction disturbances. Reversible dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are well established cardiac manifestations of phaeochromocytoma, with more recent attention to an increasing number of cases with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. This review provides an update on the cause, clinical presentation and treatment of the cardiovascular manifestations of phaeochromocytoma. As the cardiovascular complications of phaeochromocytoma can be life-threatening, all patients who present with manifestations that even remotely suggest excessive catecholamine secretion should be screened for the disease.

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