REVIEW – October 2004

Phaechromocytoma in clinical practice


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Phaechromocytoma is a rare tumour of the adrenal gland medulla, which produces catecholamines and can be localized also outside the adrenal gland. Important clinical symptoms are hypertension, headache, palpitation, excessive sweating. The most important diagnostic modality is detection of catecholamines or their metabolites in 24 h urine. Visualisation of tumour can be done by UH, CT or MRI. Treatment is surgical, performed either by open method or laparoscopically preferably at medical centres with ample experience. Preoperative, perioperative and postoperative cooperation of the surgical and the anesthesia teams is important. Despite its low incidence, within the first half of 2003, three consecutive patients with phaechromocytoma were successfully operated at the Department of General and Plastic Surgery of Tartu University Clinics.