Case report: Retroperitoneoscopic pheochromocytoma removal in an adult with Eisenmenger’s syndrome

  • Geoff A. Bellingham
  • Achal K. Dhir
  • Patrick P. Luke
Case Reports/Case Series


Purpose: Patients with uncorrected or palliated, complex congenital heart lesions requiring surgery can benefit from laparoscopic techniques, but retroperitoneal insufflation may render them hemodynamically unstable. Alterations in cardiopulmonary physiology during retroperitoneal insufflation have been studied, yet there are no cases detailing this approach in patients with congenital heart lesions. We present a case of a pheochromocytoma removal via retroperitoneoscopy in a patient with a palliated, complex heart lesion.

Clinical features: A 28-yr-old woman was admitted for removal of a pheochromocytoma through retroperitoneoscopy. The main feature of her heart disease was a complete atrioventricular canal defect. She eventually developed Eisenmenger’s syndrome and became chronically cyanotic. Retroperitoneal insufflation with CO2 gas did not change hemodynamic variables. Significant increases in peak airway pressures were encountered, possibly due to the distending effects of insufflation, or due to increasing the minute ventilation to reduce exogenous CO2. Arterial CO2 remained stable, but a significant increase between end-tidal and arterial levels became apparent with insufflation. Tumour manipulation led to systemic (and possibly pulmonary) hypertension, which exacerbated ventricular dysfunction. This condition resulted in atrioventricular valve regurgitation, as seen on transesophageal echocardiography, and diminished pulmonary blood flow with subsequent desaturation. These changes resolved with antihypertensive medications. The patient’s trachea was extubated four hours postoperatively, and she recovered uneventfully.

Conclusion: Patients with altered cardiopulmonary physiology may tolerate retroperitoneoscopic insufflation with relative hemodynamic stability. Appropriate use of short-acting, vasoactive drugs and aggressive monitoring of PaCO2 and hemodynamic variables is required.


Central Venous Pressure Milrinone Pulmonary Blood Flow Peak Airway Pressure Tumour Manipulation 
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Présentation de cas : Ablation rétropéritonéoscopique d’un phéochromocytome chez un adulte souffrant du syndrome d’Eisenmenger


Objectif: Les patients ayant des lésions cardiaques congénitales complexes non corrigées ou palliées nécessitant une chirurgie peuvent profiter de techniques laparoscopiques; toutefois, un rétropneumopéritoine peut rendre leur hémodynamie instable. Les modifications de la physiologie cardiopulmonaire pendant un rétropneumopéritoine ont été étudiées, mais il n’existe aucun cas décrivant cette approche chez des patients souffrant d’anomalies cardiaques congénitales. Nous présentons un cas d’ablation de phéochromocytome par rétropéritonéoscopie chez un patient ayant une anomalie cardiaque congénitale complexe palliée.

Éléments cliniques: Une femme de 28 ans a été admise pour une ablation de phéochromocytome par rétropéritonéoscopie. Une déficience totale de son canal atrio-ventriculaire constituait l’élément principal de sa maladie cardiaque. Elle a finalement développé un syndrome d’Eisenmenger et est devenue chroniquement cyanotique. Un rétropneumopéritoine avec du gaz CO2 n’a pas modifié les variables hémodynamiques. Des augmentations significatives dans les pics de pression ventilatoire ont été observées, possiblement provoquées par les effets distensifs de l’insufflation ou par l’augmentation de la ventilation minute pour réduire le CO2 exogène. Le CO2 artériel est resté stable, mais une augmentation significative entre les niveaux télé-expiratoire et artériel est apparue lors de l’insufflation. La manipulation tumorale a provoqué une hypertension systémique (et possiblement pulmonaire), ce qui a exacerbé la dysfonction ventriculaire. La conséquence de cette condition a été une régurgitation des valves atrio-ventriculaires, telle qu’observées par échocardiographie transoesophagienne, et un débit sanguin pulmonaire réduit avec une désaturation subséquente. Ces modifications ont pu être contrées avec des médicaments anti-hypertenseurs. La trachée de la patiente a été extubée quatre heures après l’opération, et elle s’est rétablie normalement.

Conclusion: Les patients présentant une physiologie cardiopulmonaire altérée pourraient tolérer un rétropneumopéritoine et maintenir une hémodynamie relativement stable. L’utilisation adéquate de médicaments vasoactifs à action courte et une surveillance agressive de la PaCO2 et des variables hémodynamiques sont nécessaires.


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© Canadian Anesthesiologists 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoff A. Bellingham
    • 4
  • Achal K. Dhir
    • 4
  • Patrick P. Luke
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.the Division of UrologyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.the Multi-Organ Transplant Program (MOTP)LondonCanada
  3. 3.the Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics (CSTAR)LondonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, London Health Sciences Centreand the University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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