Excessive catecholamine release in pheochromocytoma is known to cause transient reversible left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, such as in the case of pheochromocytoma-associated catecholamine cardiomyopathy. We investigated patterns of clinical presentation and incidence of LV dysfunction in patients with pheochromocytoma.
From January 2004 to April 2011, consecutive patients with pheochromocytoma were retrospectively studied with clinical symptoms, serum catecholamine profiles, and radiologic findings. Patterns of electrocardiography and echocardiography were also analyzed.
During the study period, a total of 36 patients (21 males, 49.8 ± 15.8 years, range 14-81 years) with pheochromocytoma were included. In the electrocardiographic examinations, normal findings were the most common findings (19, 52.8%). LV hypertrophy in 12 cases (33.3%), sinus tachycardia in 3 (8.3%), ischemic pattern in 1 (2.8%) and supraventricular tachycardia in 1 (2.8%). Echocardiographic exam was done in 29 patients (80.6%). Eighteen patients (62.1%) showed normal finding, 8 (27.6%) revealed concentric LV hypertrophy with normal LV systolic function, and 3 (10.3%) demonstrate LV systolic dysfunction (LV ejection fraction < 50%). Three showed transient LV dysfunction (2 with inverted Takotsubo-type cardiomyopathy and 1 with a diffuse hypokinesia pattern). Common presenting symptoms in the 3 cases were new onset chest discomfort and dyspnea which were not common in the other patients. Their echocardiographic abnormalities were normalized with conventional treatment within 3 days.
Out of total 36 patients with pheochromocytoma, 3 showed transient LV systolic dysfunction (catecholamine cardiomyopathy). Pheochromocytoma should be included as one of possible causes of transient LV systolic dysfunction.
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