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Digoxin for the Management of Unstable Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia in a Patient Who Refused Electrical Cardioversion in a Rural HospitalRead the full article
Case Reports in Emergency Medicine publishes case reports and case series related to prehospital care, disaster preparedness and response, acute medical and paediatric emergencies, critical care, sports medicine, wound care, and toxicology.
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HHV-6 Meningoencephalitis in a Healthy Adult Female
Introduction. We describe the case of a 47-year-old female who presented to an academic tertiary emergency department with two to three days of worsening fever, headache, malaise, and rigors. A broad infectious workup revealed a diagnosis of Human Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) meningoencephalitis without any additional identifiable causes. HHV-6, the virus responsible for the childhood disease roseola, is a common cause of fever, seizures, diarrhea, and a characteristic faint-pink rash in children. Symptomatic HHV-6 infection in adults is far less common. We believe this represents one of only a few reported cases of HHV-6 meningoencephalitis in an immunocompetent host. Case Report. A 47-year-old female presented to the emergency department with two to three days of fever, headache, malaise, and rigors. She had a noncontributory medical, surgical, and family history but had traveled extensively in northeast Africa six months prior. A physical exam was notable for a wide based gait, photophobia, mild nuchal rigidity, and pain with active range of motion of the neck. A broad infectious workup was pursued; however, given headache, fever, and subjective nuchal rigidity, the highest concern was for meningoencephalitis. A lumbar puncture was positive for HHV-6 without any other diagnostic findings to otherwise explain the patient’s symptoms. The patient was discharged on hospital day 3 with improving symptoms. Conclusion. HHV-6 meningoencephalitis has previously been described as a pathogen associated with individuals with immunosuppressive conditions. There have been several prior case reports of symptomatic meningoencephalitis in immune-competent individuals, and we believe this case adds to a growing body of evidence that HHV-6 meningoencephalitis can cause symptomatic infection in a broader patient population.
Intramuscular Tranexamic Acid Administration on the Battlefield
Background. Tranexamic acid (TXA) is routinely administered intravenously (IV) and intraosseously (IO) in response to exsanguination. Case. This report describes a patient who sustained multiple high-powered rifle gunshot wounds that received battlefield-environment intramuscular (IM) administration of TXA due to inability to obtain IV / IO access. This case represents the unlikely positive outcome in the setting of multiple remarkable obstacles, which may have been ameliorated by novel administration of TXA. Conclusion. Cases of IM TXA administration as a primary intervention are not well represented in the current body of medical literature. This case report highlights a clinical scenario where IM TXA was utilized as part of first-line treatment that led to a positive clinical outcome. Although IM TXA is not yet endorsed by current trauma guidelines, this case suggests that IM route administration of TXA should be further investigated. If indeed IM administration of TXA proves just as efficacious as alternative routes, this would hold considerable advantageous implications for austere situations were sterility and IV / IO placement are impractical. This would also represent another avenue by which to decrease the time-to-TXA for patients, allowing sooner correction of hemorrhage and trauma-associated coagulopathy.
Bilateral Scapular Fractures Occurring as a Result of a First-Time Seizure
The violent nature of generalized tonic-clonic seizures puts individuals at risk of a large number of potential injuries. These can occur due both to the profound muscular contractions that accompany these episodes as well as falls and other traumatic events that occur due to the period of loss of consciousness that occurs during generalized seizures. While injuries such as soft tissue contusions, tongue biting, dental injuries, and facial lacerations resulting from falls from standing predominate, bony injuries are not uncommon. We present a case of bilateral scapular fractures that occurred in an otherwise healthy 32-year male who presented with shoulder and back pain and inability to perform any significant movement of his upper arms secondary to pain after experiencing an apparent first-time generalized tonic-clonic seizure. The presence of unilateral and bilateral scapular fractures, while uncommonly described, should be considered as an additional potential orthopedic injury that may occur secondary to a generalized tonic-clonic seizure. In the absence of observed significant forceful traumatic injury, this injury is unusual, and its presence noted in a patient experiencing sudden loss of consciousness should raise heightened concern of seizures as the potential etiology.
Ruptured Tubo-Ovarian Pregnancy Presenting at 15 Weeks’ Gestation
Ectopic pregnancies develop outside of the uterus and lead to significant maternal morbidity and mortality if they rupture. As the primary diagnostic tool for these presentations, ultrasound has a growing list of signs and measurements that help distinguish between intrauterine and ectopic pregnancies, the latter being exceedingly rare once a woman has entered her second trimester. The present case reports a series of Emergency Department visits by a woman carrying a second-trimester pregnancy—deemed intrauterine on transabdominal ultrasound due to gestational age and location—who developed massive hemoperitoneum and was diagnosed with a ruptured 15-week tubo-ovarian pregnancy on laparotomy. The discussion describes the sonographic findings that could have helped make the proper diagnosis, most notably mantle distance—the thickness of the myometrium surrounding the gestational sac—which would have correctly identified this pregnancy as ectopic.
A Patient Presenting with Lower Extremity Paralysis due to Acute Aortic Occlusion
Acute aortic occlusion (AAO) is a rare and life-threatening condition that is rarely described in limited case series over the past several decades. The etiology and management are diverse across documented accounts, but prompt recognition facilitated by performing a thorough vascular and neurologic exam is critical to prevent delayed diagnosis and adverse outcomes. We report a patient who presented to the emergency department with the complaint of acute-onset lower extremity paralysis due to acute aortic occlusion. Her condition was rapidly diagnosed with a CT angiogram protocolized for aortic dissection and managed with anticoagulation and thrombectomy with eventual near complete recovery of her lower extremity function.
Cerebral Arterial Gas Embolism due to Helium Inhalation from a High-Pressure Gas Cylinder
Cerebral arterial gas embolism (CAGE) is a rare but serious cause for acute neurologic deficit that occurs most often in divers who breathe compressed gas at depth or iatrogenically from a variety of invasive medical procedures. We present a rare case of CAGE caused by inhaling helium from an unregulated, high-pressure gas cylinder. Following inhalation, the patient experienced loss of consciousness, neurologic deficits, pneumomediastinum, and pneumothorax requiring transfer and treatment at a hyperbaric facility with resulting resolution of neurologic symptoms. This case highlights the importance of rapid diagnosis and hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBO), facilitated by close coordination among community emergency departments, pediatric tertiary care centers, hyperbaric facilities, and poison control.
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