Since the introduction of the phentolamine (Regitine) methanesulfonate test1 for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma, it has generally been regarded as a safe and reasonably accurate procedure. No reports of fatality after its use in patients with pheochromocytoma have been found in the literature, although there are reports of prolonged hypotension with its use during surgery for pheochromocytoma2 and of one death from ventricular fibrillation after the test in a patient without pheochromocytoma.3 This report describes a prolonged period of hypotension, cardiac arrhythmia, and death after intravenous administration of 5 mg. of phentolamine to a patient shown to have a pheochromocytoma at autopsy.
Report of a Case
The patient, a 65-year-old woman, was admitted to the hospital on July 9, 1955, because of "weak spells and convulsions" that appeared one year before admission. The spells were characterized by palpitation, nervousness, cold and clammy hands, profuse perspiration, and then
Emanuel DA, Rowe GG, Musser MJ, Philpot VB. PROLONGED HYPOTENSION WITH FATAL TERMINATION AFTER A PHENTOLAMINE (REGITINE) METHANESULFONATE TEST. JAMA. 1956;161(5):436–439. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.62970050003008a
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