In the most recent issue of WestJEM, a very interesting ultrasound case by Drs. Wendler, Schoenberger, Mailhot and Perera was published illustrating that if you dont look, you won’t get the diagnosis! How bedside ultrasound solved the case! Below is only the beginning of the case:
“A 57-year-old Hispanic male presented with a 1-day history of altered mental status. He had a past medical history significant for alcohol abuse, hepatitis C and Child-Pugh Class B cirrhosis. He had undergone TIPS placement an unknown number of years before presentation to the ED. Additionally, he had been previously hospitalized for hepatic encephalopathy due to noncompliance with his medical regimen.
On physical examination, the patient appeared comfortable and calm. He was alert, but oriented to name only. Vitals signs were temperature 98.1°F pulse 78 beats/ min, respiratory rate 16 breaths/min and blood pressure 130/89 mmHg. The patient was noted to have scleral icterus, and his abdominal exam revealed moderate ascites without tenderness, rebound, or guarding. Unexpectedly, on cardiac auscultation, the patient was noted to have a 2/6 systolic and a 2/6 diastolic murmur with ectopy. A 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) was obtained in addition to standard laboratory studies to elucidate the cause of the patient’s altered mental status.
The serum white blood cell count was 6,500/mm3 without neutrophilic predominance, hemoglobin of 10 g/dL, BUN of 10 mg/dL and a creatinine of 0.6 mg/dL. The patient was noted to have an elevated ammonia level at138 umol/L. The 12-lead ECG showed normal sinus rhythm with multiple premature atrial contractions. To further assess cardiac function, a bedside EUS was performed…..” (see below)
Oh, but there’s more! The case isnt over, nor the discussion – read more!
The great thing about bedside ultrasound is that you can get a really REALLY good idea of what is going on with a patient within 5-10 minutes of their arrival, particularly patients who can’t tell you whats going on (whether it’s because they are lethargic and tachypneic – like this case – or altered, unconscious, or speak another language) , but, because you are a great doc, you do know by just walking through the doorway and looking at the patient that he is S.I.C.K. This case discusses exactly that and highlights the RUSH protocol, (see my prior post on the evidence based approach to the RUSH) ,but also how interpreting those applications when correlating to your exam and clinical history is key and adds greatly to your evaluation of the patient.
60 yr old guy (with an amazingly nice wife and family) with a history of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (chemo/radiation 3 months earlier), Sezary syndrome (with chemo) and Sjogren’s syndrome walks in (yes, thats right, walks in…) to the emergency department waiting room, leaning on his wife after just getting off a plane from Seattle (about a 3 hour flight) after a 1 week cruise. Continue reading
This case was diagnosed in 10 minutes of patient evaluation according to the resident on our ultrasound elective who performed the scan and the team caring for him in the emergency department. The team knew the diagnosis and, therefore, knew what to order quickly. The patient came with his wife by private vehicle into the triage area of the waiting room where he complained of feeling very weak, more and more over the last 2 days, gradual onset, and said he couldn’t catch his breath with just a few steps. His appetite was poor and wasn’t eating or drinking much, denies chest pain/fever/vomiting/diarrhea or bloody/dark stools. He has a history of metastatic lung cancer (on chemo), diabetes (on insulin), hypertension (on beta blocker), CHF (on lasix), and DVT (on Coumadin) – yeah, I know, survival of the fittest! From what I heard, he did have a smile on his face, so at least he had that going for him, which is so amazing to me – if only we could all be like that!
His vitals: T 36.7 RR 18 HR 90 BP 88/60 O2 sat 93% RA; code status: Continue reading
This case highlights an example of how bedside ultrasound can save a life. Period.
It was 330pm. The ring down from EMS was helpful; we knew the equipment we needed to get ready prior to arrival. “75 year old female, last seen normal at 2pm by family found unresponsive on the carpeted ground of her bedroom, O2 sat 94% and placed on 100% non-rebreather (NRB), shallow breaths at 12/min, weak carotid pulses with one IV access and fluids running, HR 120, blood pressure 60/p, ETA 5 minutes.” Intubation equipment, central access kit, arterial line set-up, and ultrasound machine – ready. Upon arrival, EMS states they have no advanced directive (aka full code until proven otherwise – to social worker: “please let us know when family arrives.”
In the ED… Continue reading
Yup, that’s right, we are going to go through the RUSH exam this week. Its “RUSH” WEEK!!!! To all those in SonoSororities and SonoFraternities out there, this week is going to be dedicated to “rush”ing to evaluate the patients in shock, and trying to figure out the cause of it by your handy-dandy bedside US machine – especially when the case is not obvious, but you know you need to “rush” to their bedside….ok, Ill stop “rush”ing
RUSH stands for Rapid US in SHock and written by great friends of mine, namely Phil Perera, Tom Mailhot, D Riley, and Diku Mandavia. There are 3 sections to evaluate: