Intraoperative hypertensive crisis due to a catecholamine-secreting esthesioneuroblastoma

Vafi Salmasi, Adam Schiavi, Zev A. Binder, Jacob Ruzevick, Brent A. Orr, Peter C. Burger, Douglas W. Ball, Ari M. Blitz, Wayne M. Koch, Masaru Ishii, Gary L. Gallia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Although uncommon, esthesioneuroblastomas may produce clinically significant amounts of catecholamines. Methods We report a patient with a catecholamine-secreting esthesioneuroblastoma who developed an intraoperative hypertensive crisis. Results A patient with a history of hypertension was referred to our skull base center for management of a residual esthesioneuroblastoma. A staged endonasal endoscopic approach was planned. At the conclusion of the first stage, a hypertensive crisis occurred. Workup revealed elevated levels of serum and urinary catecholamines. The patient was treated with alpha adrenoceptor blockade before the second stage. Serum catecholamine levels after this second stage were normal. On immunohistochemical analysis, the tumor cells were found to be positive for tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate limiting enzyme in catecholamine synthesis, and achaete-scute homologue 1, a transcription factor essential in the development of olfactory and sympathetic neurons. Conclusion Catecholamine production should be considered in the differential of unexpected extreme hypertension during surgical resection of esthesioneuroblastoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E74-E80
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • catecholamine
  • esthesioneuroblastoma
  • expanded endonasal endoscopic approach
  • hypertensive crisis
  • tyrosine hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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