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July 1990

Primary Hyperepinephrinemia in Patients Without Pheochromocytoma

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, State University of New York Health Science Center and Crouse Irving-Memorial Hospital, Syracuse.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(7):1528-1533. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390190160028

• Clinical features of epinephrine release led to the finding of spontaneously elevated plasma epinephrine concentrations in five patients, in four of whom plasma norepinephrine concentrations were normal. Adrenal medullary hyperplasia was suspected in one patient, whose first cousin had multiple endocrine neoplasia type lla,and in two others, all of whom have experienced relief from symptoms during propranolol or atenolol administration. The other two patients had unilateral adrenal cysts, with negative metaiodobenzylguanidine scans and no histological evidence of pheochromocytoma, but complete relief of symptoms by excision of the cysts. In one patient, Cushing's syndrome and associated hypertension, diabetes, and ischemic finger-tip ulceration all disappeared after surgery. It is concluded that spontaneous hyperepinephrinemic manifestations can be relieved by β-blockers or, when an adrenal mass is present, by unilateral adrenalectomy even when the metaiodobenzylguanidine test result is negative.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:1528-1533)