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Am J Cardiol. 2007 May 1;99(9):1325-9. Epub 2007 Mar 16.

The president and the pheochromocytoma.

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  • 1St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, New York, USA.


President Eisenhower experienced an acute heart attack in September 1955 and died of ischemic cardiomyopathy 14 years later. The autopsy revealed, unexpectedly, a 1.5-cm pheochromocytoma in the left adrenal gland. In view of these hitherto unreported findings, the investigators analyzed the blood pressure pattern of the president throughout his life. Although hypertension was documented on and off from 1930 until his death, it is unknown whether the pheochromocytoma was present during his presidency. During the later part of President Eisenhower's life, excessive systolic and diastolic blood pressure spikes were documented, although he concomitantly had severe ischemic cardiomyopathy. In conclusion, most likely, the pheochromocytoma was the underlying cause of this erratic blood pressure pattern and may have worsened the course of the president's ischemic cardiomyopathy.

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