Arterial embolization for ruptured adrenal pheochromocytoma

M. Habib, I. Tarazi, M. Batta



Spontaneous rupture of adrenal pheochromocytoma is an extremely rare condition that can be lethal. Optimal treatment in these cases is still unclear.


We conducted a comprehensive review of medline articles on ruptured pheochromocytomas to locate all research done on this topic. Based on the literature review and one additional case at European Gaza Hospital, we analyzed clinical presentations, hemorrhage site, tumour side, mortality rate, and treatment options.


In addition to our case, we identified 53 cases of ruptured pheochromocytoma. A review of all 53 cases revealed that 17 (32%) of the patients died, and that no mortality occurred among the 12 patients who received an alpha-blocker (to control high blood pressure) and fluid infusion therapy before surgery. Only 3 patients, including our case, underwent elective surgery after transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE).


Surgical treatment should be considered for ruptured pheochromocytoma. Surgical approaches involve either emergency or elective surgery. It has been reported that emergency surgery is commonly associated with a high mortality rate; no deaths were reported in patients who underwent elective surgery. We therefore consider that, if a patient has hemodynamic instability, TAE can be an effective and a safe procedure for achieving hemostasis and maintaining the patient in good condition until surgery can be performed.

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)