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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2013 April;172(4):317-20

Copyright © 2013 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

An unusual presentation of malignant phaeochromocytoma

Abdul-Razak M. R. 1, Yeoh T. M. 1, Rajasingam V. 2, Ng K. L. 1

1 Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; 2 Department of Surgery, Assunta Hospital Petaling Jaya, Malaysia


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Phaeochromocytomas are rare catecholamine-secreting neuroendocrine tumours. Asymptomatic patients are even rarer and they are a considerable diagnostic challenge. Surgical management is the treatment of choice. Therefore, the onus is on the clinician to ascertain that phaeochromocytomas are identified prior to surgery as the implications can be hazardous otherwise. The worst-case scenario would be that of dealing with an acute catecholamine crisis on the OT table in an unprepared patient with an unsuspecting surgical and anaesthetic team. We describe an atypical case of adrenal tumour which tested negative pre-operatively for phaeochromocytoma but which subsequently turned out to be a malignant phaeochromocytoma.

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