Pheochromocytoma in pregnancy: Case report and review of the literature

Amnon Botchan, Ron Hauser, Michael Kupferminc, Dan Grisaru, Reuben M. Peyser, Joseph B. Lessing*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pheochromocytoma is a rare disease that may occur during pregnancy. Only a few hundred cases have been published in the literature. Manifestations include hypertension with various clinical presentations, possibly resembling those of pregnancy-induced hypertension, or preeclamptic toxemia. Differentiation of these conditions is not always feasible, thus creating a serious risk, because fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality are far higher with pheochromocytoma. Biochemical measurements of catecholamines and their metabolites are apparently a convenient way to establish diagnosis during pregnancy, inasmuch as interpretation of radiological evaluation is complicated by the gravid uterus, and might even be potentially dangerous due to the use of ionizing radiation. More sophisticated methods for evaluation are not always practical during pregnancy. Medical treatment aims at controlling symptoms, mandating the use of alpha- and beta-receptors blockade medication. Surgical intervention is the only possible curative method available, but the critical issue is probably to identify the exact timing during the course of pregnancy for such intervention, or the ability to control symptoms until delivery. Although malignant transformation of pheochromocytoma have been reported, it is extremely uncommon. The overall prognosis is mainly affected by early diagnosis, and multidisciplinarian management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-327
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrical and Gynecological Survey
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes


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