What is Mediastinal Pheochromocytoma?Mediastinal pheochromocytoma is a rare type of mediastinal tumor that develops from chromaffin cells of the sympathetic nervous system. Chromaffin cells are found along the aortic ganglia in the chest or mediastinum. In most cases, chromaffin cells originate from the adrenal glands of the kidneys; however, in 1% of cases, extraadrenal pheochromocytoma arises from the chest or mediastinum, known as mediastinal pheochromocytoma or mediastinal paraganglioma.
What is Mediastinum?The mediastinum is a space in the thorax that contains the heart, thymus gland, portions of the esophagus trachea, and other structures.
Disease CausesThere is no well-known cause, but certain hereditary and genetic conditions may be responsible for the development of mediastinal paraganglioma.
Signs and SymptomsMost patients with mediastinal paraganglioma show no signs and symptoms; however, in a few cases, the patient may show the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Persistent headache
- High blood pressure
- Excessive Sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Pain in the chest
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- CBC (complete blood count)
- Blood sugar levels
- Measurement of plasma-free metanephrines
- CT-scan, MRI, OR PET Scan of abdomen and chest