History

In 1886, Fránkel first described pheochromocytoma at autopsy.1 Not until 1926 did Mayo2 at the Mayo Clinic and

Roux3 in Switzerland successfully remove these adrenal tumors. Interestingly, neither of these tumors was diagnosed preoperatively. As late as 1951, only 125 operations for pheochromocytoma had been reported, which included 33 deaths resulting from both severe hypertension during resection and hypotension after removal of the tumor.4 With the use of two new pharmacologic agents, phentolamine for hypertension and noradrenaline for hypotension, only 5 years later, Priestley and colleagues reported the successful excision of 61 pheochromocytomas in 51 patients without a death.5

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