BACKGROUND: Surgery for catecholamine-producing tumours can be complicated by intraoperative and postoperative haemodynamic instability. Several perioperative management strategies have emerged but none has been evaluated in randomized trials. To assess this issue, contemporary perioperative management and outcome data from 21 centres were collected.
METHODS: Twenty-one centres contributed outcome data from patients who had surgery for phaeochromocytoma and paraganglioma between 2000 and 2017. The data included the number of patients with and without α-receptor blockade, surgical and anaesthetic techniques, complications and perioperative mortality.
RESULTS: Across all centres, data were reported on 1860 patients with phaeochromocytoma or paraganglioma, of whom 343 underwent surgery without α-receptor blockade. The majority of operations (78·9 per cent) were performed using minimally invasive techniques, including 16·1 per cent adrenal cortex-sparing procedures. The cardiovascular complication rate was 5·0 per cent overall: 5·9 per cent (90 of 1517) in patients with preoperative α-receptor blockade and 0·9 per cent (3 of 343) among patients without α-receptor blockade. The mortality rate was 0·5 per cent overall (9 of 1860): 0·5 per cent (8 of 517) in pretreated and 0·3 per cent (1 of 343) in non-pretreated patients.
CONCLUSION: There is substantial variability in the perioperative management of catecholamine-producing tumours, yet the overall complication rate is low. Further studies are needed to better define the optimal management approach, and reappraisal of international perioperative guidelines appears desirable.