A reevaluation of the hemodynamics of pheochromocytoma.
We examined the hemodynamic features of 24 untreated patients with surgically proven pheochromocytoma during steady-state periods and compared them with 24 untreated essential hypertensive patients individually matched for sex, age, body surface area, and arterial blood pressure. We found that, despite having 10-fold higher levels of circulating catecholamines, pheochromocytoma patients have hemodynamic characteristics similar to patients with essential hypertension and that, in individual patients, the ratio of circulating norepinephrine to epinephrine had no relation to the hemodynamic profile. In both groups, increased total peripheral resistance is primarily responsible for maintenance of hypertension. These results suggest that, unlike the acute administration of catecholamines, long-term exposure to high levels of circulating catecholamines does not produce hemodynamic responses characteristic of this group of compounds. This might be due in part to desensitization of the cardiovascular system to catecholamines and might explain the clinical observation that some patients can be completely asymptomatic despite harboring an actively catecholamine-secreting pheochromocytoma.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association