How are pheochromocytomas diagnosed?

Updated: Aug 10, 2018
  • Author: Michael A Blake, MBBCh, MRCPI, FRCR; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Pheochromocytoma is diagnosed by measuring elevated levels of metanephrines (catecholamine metabolites) in blood or urine. CT scanning or MRI is the preferred technique for localizing pheochromocytomas (see the image below). Surgical resection of the tumor is the treatment of choice and usually cures the hypertension (see Workup and Treatment).

Axial, T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI Axial, T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showing large left suprarenal mass of high signal intensity on a T2-weighted image. The mass is a pheochromocytoma.

For discussion of pheochromocytoma in children, see the Medscape Reference article Pediatric Pheochromocytoma. [7] For patient education information, see High Blood Pressure.

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