Munchausen syndrome: a novel cause of drug-resistant hypertension

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Abstract

Case report:

A young patient presented with a history of resistant arterial hypertension, associated with disabling symptoms. He was subjected to an enormous number of tests to identify a pheochromocytoma that was never found. He was eventually discovered to make factitious use of amphetamine to mimic this condition in order to gain medical attention. Munchausen syndrome was thus diagnosed. The patient was discharged and was lost to follow-up until he presented again in 2012 for ‘resistant hypertension’ in our outpatient clinic. He reported that because of poor blood pressure, he had been referred to a Cardiology department where transcatheter renal denervation was performed with no effect on blood pressure. Thereafter, he was presented to an Endocrinology unit where a left adrenalectomy was performed with diagnosis of pheochromocytoma that was not found at pathology.

Discussion:

Munchausen syndrome is a rare psychiatric condition that leads affected patients to cause intentionally signs and symptoms of an illness or injury by inflicting medical harm to their body to attract the attention of the physician and get admission to the hospital.

Conclusion:

To our knowledge, this is the first case of causing drug-resistant hypertension and leading to unnecessary renal denervation and adrenalectomy.

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