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Phaeochromocytoma masquerading as anxiety and depression

Ibrahim M. Zardawi

Am J Case Rep 2013; 14:161-163

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.889063


Background: Pheochromocytoma is a rare catecholamine-producing neuroendocrine tumour with protean clinical manifestations, which can mimic a variety of conditions, often resulting in erroneous and delayed diagnosis.
Case Report: A case of undiagnosed pheochromocytoma in a 36 year old female with a 15 year history of anxiety and depression is described. The patient collapsed while on the phone to the next of kin and stopped breathing. She was initially revived but suffered a cardiac arrest and died. At autopsy an undiagnosed adrenal pheochromocytoma was found.
Conclusions: When considering a diagnosis of anxiety and depression, medical causes of the symptoms must be excluded. Common conditions, such as thyroid disorders, stimulant abuse, asthma, cardiac arrhythmias, alcohol withdrawal and rarely pheochromocytoma, causing a similar spectrum of symptoms should be excluded by history and clinical examination.

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