A 54-year-old man who had an appearance strongly suggestive of Cushing's syndrome, collapsed after the removal of a carcinoid tumour of the thymus. The clinical suspicion of acute adrenal insufficiency was supported by invasive haemodynamic data and the diagnosis was subsequently confirmed biochemically. These post-operative events were subsequently ignored and a further crisis was probably prevented by tumour recurrence (and hence resumption of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) production). The ectopic production of ACTH from a carcinoid tumour of the thymus is recognised but a report of acute adrenal insufficiency from its removal is probably unique.
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