Another wicked ultrasound case! Can you see the culprit? Another reason to do bedside ultrasound… #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMus

Reviewing some TEE cases with Max Meineiri of TGH yesterday (Max is an anaesthetist-intensivist-sonographer extraordinaire who has been kind enough to help me brush up my TEE skills recently), here is one that stood out for two reasons. Here is the story: An 84 year old woman is sent from a peripheral hospital to the cath lab for chest pain.  She arrests on the table after they found normal coronaries and the code blue is called. Max arrives on the scene, and due to CPR making TTE difficult (and also because Max walks around with a TEE probe in a hip holster by Dolce & Gabbana), in goes the TEE probe and right away they note a massively dilated and hypokinetic RV, and a small and under filled LV. Yup, sure looks like a PE in these circumstances. Not being satisfied with a presumptive diagnosis, Max gets to a short axis view of the aortic valve and pulls out the probe slightly, following the bifurcation of the main PA.  On the screen, the right PA is on the upper left field, and the left PA disappears towards the upper right (the left main stem bronchus makes it difficult to visualize). Anything seem a little odd?   Yup, you can see the occlusive culprit a couple of centimetres into the right PA, moving with each beat.  Being in angio already, they threaded a PA cath and administered thrombolysis, but despite some visual fragmentation, she did not survive. So why is this case interesting? 1. the image is pretty cool. 2. More importantly, it highlights the importance of bedside ultrasound.  If a rapid, focused cardiac exam had been done at her presentation at the peripheral hospital, the first-line physicians most likely would have noted the severe RV dysfunction and questioned the diagnosis of coronary syndrome, possibly (hopefully) thrombolysing the patient, and very possibly averting the cardiac arrest. …I know, I know, we don’t have all the info, the ECGs, etc, and maybe this was really an ACS and she happened to have a DVT which embolized during transport, etc…do you buy that?  Ockham and his parsimonious razor don’t, and I would tend to side with them.   love to hear some thoughts!   Philippe

One thought on “Another wicked ultrasound case! Can you see the culprit? Another reason to do bedside ultrasound… #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMus

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