BACKGROUND: Intestinal pseudo-obstruction, which is a rare complication of pheochromocytoma, can be caused by hypersecreted catecholamines.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 45-year-old woman was admitted for local recurrence of pheochromocytoma complicated by intestinal pseudo-obstruction. The intestinal pseudo-obstruction showed poor response to α-adrenergic receptor blocker and she was scheduled for surgical resection of pheochromocytoma. The surgery was uneventfully accomplished with general anesthesia combined with epidural anesthesia. The latter was performed with the aim of not only perioperative pain management but also of promoting intestinal peristalsis. The anticipated effect for intestinal peristalsis was not apparent in the early postoperative phase. The abdominal symptoms were gradually relieved over the course of about 1 month.
CONCLUSIONS: For intestinal pseudo-obstruction induced by pheochromocytoma, although inhibition of the sympathetic system by epidural infusion of local anesthetics may be promising, short-term usage of epidural local anesthetics infusion did not provide a quick recovery after pheochromocytoma removal surgery.