Nursing Student Class Projects (Formerly MSN)

Academic Term

Fall 2014

Document Type


Course Number

NURS 5330

Course Name

Advanced Pathophysiology

Professor’s Name

John D. Chovan, James R. Cacchillo


High Blood Pressure, Vascular Tumors

Subject Categories

Cardiovascular Diseases | Medical Pathology | Nursing | Pathological Conditions, Signs and Symptoms


Hypertension is an extremely common diagnosis today. This condition can be caused by a multitude of factors, and can inversely cause numerous unfavorable processes in the body. One rare but significant source of hypertension is a tumor known as a pheochromocytoma, or PCC. This usually benign tumor is most often located on an adrenal gland, and can have a grave impact on the cardiovascular system. The tumor intermittently secretes an excess of the catecholamine norepinephrine, and if large enough, also secretes epinephrine [9]. These episodic bursts can cause extreme hypertension and tachycardia, leading to, at times fatal results. By understanding the pathophysiology and clinical presentation of a pheochromocytoma, this tumor can be considered as part of the early differential diagnoses by the advanced practice nurse. If a detailed history is obtained, the PCC patient can be treated appropriately and a potentially tragic outcome may be avoided. Surgical intervention is the most successful treatment modality, if the patient has been deemed a good candidate [3]. Careful monitoring must be performed pre-, during, and after surgery, noting any changes in vital signs or mental status. Pertinent patient education must be provided regarding significant symptoms, lifestyle modifications and when to seek immediate medical attention.



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