Pheochromocytomas

Also known as: PCC.

What are pheochromocytomas?

 A pheochromocytoma is a rare type of non-cancerous tumor in children (ages 6-14 years) that arises in the adrenal gland (organs that lie just above the kidneys) which secretes a group of chemicals (hormones) that are part of the body’s response to danger (“flight or fight” e.g. they regulate heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, pupil size, change blood flow from skin to muscles among other functions).

What causes pheochromocytomas? 

There are probably many factors (genetic and environmental) that are involved with its development. Pheochromocytoma may be associated with other inherited or genetic disorders (like Neurofibromatosis, or Sturge-Weber Syndrome etc.).

What are the signs/symptoms of pheochromocytomas?

 The most common sign is a high blood pressure. Symptoms include headache, rapid heartbeat/palpitations, tremors, heavy sweating, shortness of breath, poor weight gain, nausea and/or vomiting, and a pale clammy skin. Untreated, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and other severe complications.

What are pheochromocytoma care options?

Surgery to remove the tumor is the primary treatment of pheochromocytomas, usually  with medications to control the high blood pressure.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/30/2018 9:32:27 AM

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