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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 596354, 4 pages
Case Report

Pheochromocytoma Presenting as Acute Heart Failure Leading to Cardiogenic Shock and Multiorgan Failure

1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
2The Baltimore VA Medical Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

Received 22 December 2010; Revised 13 March 2011; Accepted 15 March 2011

Academic Editor: Robert J. Noecker

Copyright © 2011 Jochen Steppan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pheochromocytoma is an endocrine tumor classically presenting with headache, paroxysmal hypertension, and palpitations. We discuss the case of a young male, presenting with acute heart failure and cardiogenic shock requiring stabilization with an intra-aortic balloon pump and a combination of ionotropes and vasopressors. Pheochromocytoma was diagnosed by CT scan, as well as urine and plasma metanephrines. After pretreatment with phenoxy-benzamine, the patient underwent adrenalectomy with subsequent cardiovascular stabilization and full recovery. Unfortunately, pheochromocytoma often remains undiagnosed. Given the ample diagnostic tools and good prognosis when treated suitably, the diagnosis should be entertained early in patients, presenting with unexplained cardiovascular compromise.