How is suspected pheochromocytoma evaluated?

Updated: Feb 22, 2019
  • Author: Matthew R Alexander, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Answer

Following suspicion of pheochromocytoma (labile, elevated blood pressure [BP]; paroxysmal hypertension with headache palpitations, pallor, perspiration), [5] the presence of a tumor should be confirmed biochemically by measuring urine and plasma concentrations of catecholamine or their metabolites. Keep in mind that catecholamine testing is subject to an increased rate of false positives, which can be due to medication effects or measurement conditions. In most situations, computed tomography scanning or magnetic resonance imaging may be used to localize the tumor in the abdomen. In the absence of abdominal imaging, nuclear scan with metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) may further help with the localization. Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning and octreotide scanning may also be used.


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