Catecholamine-induced cardiomyopathy

Thaslim Ahamed Kassim, Douglas D. Clarke, Vinh Q. Mai, Patrick W. Clyde, K. M.Mohamed Shakir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Objective: To review the pathogenesis as well as the clinical and laboratory features of catecholamine-induced cardiomyopathy associated with pheochromocytoma and other disorders and discuss the various treatment options available. Methods: Materials used for this article were identified through MEDLINE, PubMed, and Google Scholar searches of the relevant literature from 1955 to the present. Results: Catecholamines and their oxidation products cause a direct toxic effect on the myocardium. Catecholamines also exert a receptor-mediated effect on the myocardium. Catecholamine-mediated myocardial stunning has been implicated in the pathogenesis of stress-induced cardiomyopathy. Biopsy of the myocardium in patients with pheochromocytoma or those with stress-induced cardiomyopathy shows similar pathologic findings. The clinical features in pheochromocytoma-related cardiomyopathy include hypertension, dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, pulmonary edema due to cardiogenic and noncardiogenic factors, cardiac arrhythmias, and even cardiac arrest. Stress-related cardiomyopathy such as takotsubo cardiomyopathy occurs primarily in postmenopausal women. These patients may present with clinical features suggestive of an acute myocardial infarction or a hemodynamically compromised state. The definitive management of cardiomyopathy associated with pheochromocytoma includes medical treatment with α-adrenergic blockade, possibly along with angiotensin-converting enzyme blockers and β1-adrenergic receptor blockers, followed by excision of the tumor. Stress-induced cardiomyopathy is usually self-limiting; patients may require support with nonadrenergic inotropes. Conclusion: Recognition of catecholamine-induced cardiomyopathy, especially in patients with pheochromocytoma, before surgical treatment is important to minimize morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1149
Number of pages13
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


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