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Cardiovascular system

Vascular disorders

Arterial disease

Angina pectoris

Stable angina

Unstable angina

Myocardial infarction

Prinzmetal angina

Coronary steal syndrome

Peripheral artery disease

Subclavian steal syndrome


Aortic dissection


Behcet's disease

Kawasaki disease


Hypertensive emergency

Renal artery stenosis

Coarctation of the aorta

Cushing syndrome

Conn syndrome


Polycystic kidney disease


Orthostatic hypotension


Familial hypercholesterolemia



Chronic venous insufficiency


Deep vein thrombosis




Vascular tumors

Human herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi sarcoma)


Congenital heart defects

Truncus arteriosus

Transposition of the great vessels

Total anomalous pulmonary venous return

Tetralogy of Fallot

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome

Patent ductus arteriosus

Ventricular septal defect

Coarctation of the aorta

Atrial septal defect

Cardiac arrhythmias

Atrial flutter

Atrial fibrillation

Premature atrial contraction

Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

Ventricular tachycardia

Brugada syndrome

Premature ventricular contraction

Long QT syndrome and Torsade de pointes

Ventricular fibrillation

Atrioventricular block

Bundle branch block

Pulseless electrical activity

Valvular disorders

Tricuspid valve disease

Pulmonary valve disease

Mitral valve disease

Aortic valve disease


Dilated cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Heart failure

Heart failure

Cor pulmonale

Cardiac infections



Rheumatic heart disease

Pericardial disorders

Pericarditis and pericardial effusion

Cardiac tamponade

Dressler syndrome

Cardiac tumors

Cardiac tumors

Cardiovascular system pathology review

Acyanotic congenital heart defects: Pathology review

Cyanotic congenital heart defects: Pathology review

Atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis: Pathology review

Coronary artery disease: Pathology review

Peripheral artery disease: Pathology review

Valvular heart disease: Pathology review

Cardiomyopathies: Pathology review

Heart failure: Pathology review

Supraventricular arrhythmias: Pathology review

Ventricular arrhythmias: Pathology review

Heart blocks: Pathology review

Aortic dissections and aneurysms: Pathology review

Pericardial disease: Pathology review

Endocarditis: Pathology review

Hypertension: Pathology review

Shock: Pathology review

Vasculitis: Pathology review

Cardiac and vascular tumors: Pathology review

Dyslipidemias: Pathology review




0 / 14 complete

USMLE® Step 1 questions

0 / 4 complete

High Yield Notes

13 pages



of complete


USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

of complete

A 44-year-old woman is brought to the emergency department an hour after developing acute confusion. According to her husband, the patient had been experiencing headaches and blurry vision for the past several hours. She has no significant past medical history. Temperature is 37.0°C (98.6°F), pulse is 102/min, and blood pressure is 205/110 mmHg. Physical examination shows right-sided weakness and loss of sensation. A CT scan of her head demonstrates an intraparenchymal hemorrhage. Despite appropriate treatment, the patient dies. A postmortem biopsy of her left adrenal gland is shown below:

Image reproduced from Wikimedia Commons

This patient most likely also experienced which of the following symptoms?

External References

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pheochromocytoma and p. 345

Dopamine p. 243, 334

pheochromocytoma secretion p. 345

Epinephrine p. 243

pheochromocytoma secretion p. 345


pheochromocytoma p. 345

Norepinephrine (NE)

pheochromocytoma secretion p. 345



Harry Delaney, MBChB

Alex Aranda

Jake Ryan

Victoria Cumberbatch

In pheochromocytoma, pheo- means dark, chromo- refers to color, cyto- refers to a cell and -oma means tumor. So a pheochromocytoma is a rare adrenal gland tumor where the cells darken when they form tumors.

Now, there are two adrenal glands, one above each kidney, and each one has an outer layer called the cortex and an inner layer called the medulla.

In the medulla, there are cells called chromaffin cells and their job is to make hormones called catecholamines. The catecholamines include epinephrine and norepinephrine - the fight or flight hormones.

Normally, the chromaffin cells in the adrenal gland secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine into the blood when something scary happens - like someone saying BOOM!

The epinephrine and norepinephrine bind to alpha and beta receptors in various tissues throughout our body and cause an increase in cardiac output, increased blood pressure, dilated pupils, increased blood flow to skeletal muscles, and increased blood sugar.

Pheochromocytomas are tumors that form when these chromaffin cells start to divide uncontrollably.

They typically form in one of the adrenal glands, but rarely can be in both and sometimes can even develop in other parts of the body where chromaffin cells are found like the carotid arteries in the neck, the bladder, and the abdominal aorta.


A pheochromocytoma is a neuroendocrine tumor of chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla. Pheochromocytomas cause problems by producing too much of the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine, which then causes sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity, resulting in symptoms like high blood pressure, headaches, palpitations, and sweating.

Pheochromocytomas are diagnosed by testing the urine for catecholamines and metanephrine; and imaging studies such as CT or MRI. Treatment involves surgical removal of the tumor, and medications to control blood pressure and heart rate.


  1. "Robbins Basic Pathology" Elsevier (2017)
  2. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Twentieth Edition (Vol.1 & Vol.2)" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  3. "Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8E" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  4. "CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2020" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2019)
  5. "Harrison's Endocrinology, 4E" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2016)
  6. "Failure to Recognize Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia 2B: More Common Than We Think?" Annals of Surgical Oncology (2007)
  7. "Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2: An overview" Genetics in Medicine (2011)

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