Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are rare catecholamine-secreting neuroendocrine tumors of the adrenal medulla and sympathetic/parasympathetic ganglion cells, respectively. Excessive release of catecholamines leads to episodic symptoms and signs of PPGL, which include hypertension, headache, palpitations, and diaphoresis. Intraoperatively, large amounts of catecholamines are released into the bloodstream through handling and manipulation of the tumor(s). In contrast, there could also be an abrupt decline in catecholamine levels after tumor resection. Because of such binary manifestations of PPGL, patients may develop perplexing and substantially devastating cardiovascular complications during the perioperative period. These complications include hypertension, hypotension, arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and cerebrovascular accident. Other complications seen in the postoperative period include fever, hypoglycemia, cortisol deficiency, urinary retention, etc. In the interest of safe patient care, such emergencies require precise diagnosis and treatment. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, and intensivists must be aware of the clinical manifestations and complications associated with a sudden increase or decrease in catecholamine levels and should work closely together to be able to provide appropriate management to minimize morbidity and mortality associated with PPGLs.
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