December 9, 2023

Cureus. 2023 Aug 26;15(8):e44161. doi: 10.7759/cureus.44161. eCollection 2023 Aug.


A 23-year-old female presented to the emergency department (ED) after sustaining a motor vehicle accident and subsequent loss of consciousness. In the ED, the patient was hemodynamically stable and was appropriately discharged with a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury. The patient presented 10 days post-injury to the outpatient brain injury clinic with complaints of headache, anxiety, and dizziness, with an elevated blood pressure of 160/100 mmHg. Initial head imaging, drug screen, complete blood count, and complete metabolic panel were unremarkable, however, urine and plasma metanephrines were found to be elevated. Abdominal computed tomography imaging revealed a pheochromocytoma, and the patient was adequately treated with medication and adrenalectomy with complete resolution of symptoms. Existing literature has indicated that stress and physical trauma can contribute to the escalation of pheochromocytoma symptoms in previously asymptomatic individuals; here, the stress and trauma stemming from an automobile accident and mild traumatic brain injury may have precipitated the onset of pheochromocytoma symptoms in the patient. Symptoms of pheochromocytoma can align with those commonly observed after traumatic brain injury (TBI), encompassing headaches, anxiety, and dizziness. Our case demonstrates the need for clinicians to consider the presence of pheochromocytoma in a post-traumatic brain injury patient.

PMID:37753024 | PMC:PMC10519182 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.44161