Pediatric Pheochromocytoma

Pediatric Pheochromocytoma

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Summary

Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor of adrenal gland tissue that causes too much adrenaline to be excreted.  Most of the time these tumors are not cancerous.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • Blurry vision
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • High blood sugar
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Pale skin
  • Sweating
  • Shaking hands
  • Unplanned or unexplained weight loss

Tests and Diagnosis

  • A complete medical history and physical examination is often the first step in diagnosing pheochromocytoma.
  • Tests include blood and urine tests measuring adrenaline, noradrenaline and their breakdown products.
  • A CT scan to look for tumors or other abnormal growths and a scan using low-level radioactive tagged substances to see how well the adrenal gland is working.
  • The doctor also may suggest genetic testing.

Treatment

Pheochromocytomas are usually treated by surgically removing the tumor. Most of the time, this improves blood pressure levels.

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