Cerebral Infarction Along the Distribution of Perforating Arteries During Aneurysm Surgery in a Patient With Pheochromocytoma -Case Report-

Department of Neurosurgery, National Defense Medical College, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan.
Neurologia medico-chirurgica (Impact Factor: 0.72). 01/2011; 51(1):72-5. DOI: 10.2176/nmc.51.72
Source: PubMed


A 58-year-old woman with refractory hypertension presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. Digital subtraction angiography and three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) angiography revealed a ruptured left vertebral artery (VA) aneurysm and an unruptured left middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm. The patient successfully underwent neck clipping of the left VA aneurysm. However, CT obtained just after the operation showed an asymptomatic cerebral infarction along the distribution of medial striate arteries of the right anterior cerebral artery in the caudate nucleus. The pathogenesis of the infarction was unknown. Before clipping surgery of the left MCA aneurysm, detailed examinations to find the cause of her refractory hypertension were performed. Laboratory tests revealed plasma serum level of norepinephrine at 15,521 pg/ml (normal range 100-450 pg/ml). Abdominal magnetic resonance imaging revealed a pheochromocytoma in the right adrenal gland. After preoperative management of the pheochromocytoma, the neck of the left MCA aneurysm was successfully clipped. When the patient awakened from anesthesia, she noticed right hemiparesis and motor aphasia. CT showed cerebral infarction along the distribution of lenticulostriate arteries of the left MCA in the putamen. Her symptoms gradually improved, and the pheochromocytoma was removed by laparoscopic surgery. Sustained severe hypertension and depletion of blood volume resulting from excess catecholamine release from the pheochromocytoma may have caused the complications. Hypervolemic fluid infusion and maintenance of normotensive blood pressure during surgery may avoid such ischemic events.

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    ABSTRACT: Two sets of studies were performed in 13 patients with proved adrenal pheochromocytoma to test the hypothesis that the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is active and might contribute to the hypertensive state. Similar studies were performed in 15 additional patients considered to have essential hypertension. In the first set, 13 patients with pheochromocytoma were subjected to head-up tilt to assess the activity of the SNS. This maneuver decreased diastolic blood pressure in only two; heart rate increased appropriately in all except one. Changes in plasma norepinephrine (NE) were variable and did not correlate with changes in blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR). In the second set, 10 patients with pheochromocytoma were given a single oral dose of clonidine (0.3 mg) to evaluate what role, if any, the SNS might contribute to the hypertensive state. Fifteen patients with essential hypertension were studied similarly for comparison. Clonidine produced significant decreases in BP and HR but left plasma renin activity unchanged in both groups. In essential hypertension, the cardiovascular responses were accompanied by significant reductions in plasma NE. By contrast, plasma NE was unchanged in patients with pheochromocytoma, despite similar reductions in BP and HR. These results suggest that the sympathetic reflexes are intact in pheochromocytoma, and that much of the hypertension associated with these tumors may be related to increased sympathetic activity.
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