Last year, Mumbai resident Priti Khare, 36, suffered severe abdominal pain, which doctors attributed to a tumour in her abdomen. When she was taken for surgery, her blood pressure shot up so high that her surgery had to be stopped.
Khare, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, suffered from pheochromocytoma, a benign tumour that develops in the core of an adrenal gland.
Adrenal glands are a set of triangular shaped glands, about one inch to three inches long on top of each kidney which secrete different hormones that help in controlling vital body functions such as blood pressure and water metabolism.
In Khare’s case, her adrenal glands produced too many hormones, raising her blood pressure and heart rate, to the extent that it became life threatening. Along with appropriate treatment, Khare’s tumour was removed by surgeons at KEM Hospital, Parel.
“She could have died on the table. She was blindly referred to a surgeon without taking any pre-operative measures. Such patients need to be prepared to withstand surgery or else it could be fatal,” said Dr Nalini Shah, head of endocrinology, KEM Hospital.
For the first time in the city, Global Hospitals, Parel has launched an –Adrenal disorders clinic- with a multidisciplinary team of endocrinologists, cardiologists, radiologists, pathologists, nephrologists, and urologists.
The hospital has already seen two patients with the disorder since the past one month. It needs a holistic approach as the condition could be genetic.
For example, a 10-year old child was treated for the tumour in his adrenal gland. When doctors delved into the child’s family history, they found that his aunt had collapsed and died when she was in her 30s and that his cousin had uncontrollable diarrhoea, another symptom of pheochromocytoma.
“If the problem was detected earlier in the family, the deaths would not have occurred,” said Dr Shah who will be part of the clinic with Dr Rucha Mehta, consultant endocrinologist, Global Hospital, Parel.