Afebrile patient with a swollen knee… April 30, 2012

Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Uncategorized , 27 comments

A middle-aged man with diabetes and hypertension has been waiting patiently to be seen, with a complaint of right knee pain and swelling that has gradually progressed over several hours. There is no history of trauma, recent or remote, but he describes several goutlike episodes of pain in both feet in recent years, which improved with rest and NSAIDs. He was triaged as an ESI4, and the waiting room is packed. Fortunately, the charge nurse comments on how uncomfortable he looks and he is brought into the ED for evaluation. The patient is afebrile, but the knee is hot, beefy red, and swollen. The ED is over-capacity and the patient’s history is reassuring, so you consider keeping him in a chair. But that knee looks impressive and you wonder if your plan is aggressive enough.

What do you do next?

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“Something doesn’t add up…” Case Conclusion April 6, 2012

Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Cardiovascular, Neurologic, Trauma , add a comment

The Conclusion Is…

A subdural or epidural hematoma would have to be extensive to cause hemiparesis, hemisensory loss, and neglect. A Todd paralysis after seizure was possible, but was considered only after ischemic causes were ruled out. Since the initial noncontrast head CT showed a small subdural hematoma, ischemic stroke was the next most-worrisome possibility. Concern for dissection should be raised when ischemic stroke is considered in the setting of trauma. A CTA was obtained that showed near occlusion of the right internal carotid artery. IV tPA was not administered for this traumatic dissection for concern of worsening or creating hemorrhagic complications. Interventional neuroradiology was consulted immediately, and the patient was placed on a heparin infusion as a bridge to the procedure. Stenting of the vessel was performed, and though it was not successful in reversing her neurological deficits, it may have prevented further ischemic damage.

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