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J Visc Surg. 2011 Dec;148(6):e409-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jviscsurg.2011.07.003. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Pheochromocytoma and abdominal paraganglioma.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic and Endocrine Surgery, University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine of Geneva, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.


Pheochromocytomas (PHEO) and paragangliomas (PGL) are tumors derived from the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic-associated paragangliomas arising in the neck are usually non-functioning and are rarely encountered by general and visceral surgeons. The sympathetic-associated PHEO and PGL are usually functioning and most often arise in the abdomen. Because they harbor very specific characteristics (hypersecretion of catecholamines, familial origin in up to 30% of them, multiple locations, etc.) their perioperative management needs to be known by surgeons taking care of these patients in order to avoid operative disasters. Surgery can lead to perioperative hemodynamic modifications and sometimes catecholamine storm even in normotensive patients with PHEO and PGL. This emphasizes the need to exclude PHEO before any adrenal surgery as well as to medically prepare all patients with PHEO and PGL preoperatively. We review in this paper the pathophysiology and current perioperative management of patients with apparently sporadic PHEO and PGL.

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