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October 21, 1974

Pheochromocytoma in Pregnancy

Author Affiliations

Phelps Memorial Hospital North Tarrytown, NY

JAMA. 1974;230(3):376. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240030018017

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To the Editor.—  The presence of pheochromocytoma in association with pregnancy is a lethal combination unless diagnosed and treated early as by Griffith et al (229:437, 1974) in their report "Successful Control of Pheochromocytoma in Pregnancy." The importance of early recognition cannot be overemphasized when there is a 50% mortality risk to mother and fetus.In an extensive review of the neurological complications of pheochromocytoma in pregnancy, we were impressed with the relative frequency of severe, pulsatile headaches, profuse sweating, and elevation of body temperature in patients harboring this tumor (Am J Obstet Gynecol 107:423, 1970). However, it must be realized that there is no clear-cut symptom complex that is consistently present in these patients. Consequently, this tumor has become one of the great imitators of clinical medicine.Several misconceptions surrounding this tumor have continued to be propagated and have resulted in a delay in diagnosis. Hypertension is found in