Perioperative management of pheochromocytoma in the setting of catecholamine-induced heart failure requires careful consideration of hemodynamic optimization and possible mechanical circulatory support. A Jehovah’s Witness patient with catecholamine-induced acutely decompensated heart failure required dependable afterload reduction for a cardio-protective strategy. This was emphasized due to the relative contraindication to perioperative anticoagulation required for mechanical circulatory support. A phenylephrine challenge clearly demonstrated adequate alpha blockade after only 24 hours of phenoxybenzamine treatment. This resulted in advancement of the surgery date. This case also highlights management of beta blockade, volume and salt loading, autologous blood transfusion, and profound post-operative vasoplegia in the setting of cardiogenic shock. Careful attention to hemodynamic optimization and cardio-protective strategies ultimately resulted in positive outcome for this challenging clinical scenario.
A case of myoclonic status treated with plasmapheresis in a patient of 63 years of age who was admitted to a Spanish intensive care unit is reported. The patient showed clinical and radiological evidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection; molecular tests did not verify this.
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has put increased stress on medical systems, infrastructure, and the public in expected and unexpected ways. This case report summarises an unexpected case of methanol poisoning from hand sanitiser ingestion due to changes in industry regulations, increased demand for cleaning products and severe psychosocial stressors brought on by the pandemic. Severe methanol toxicity results in profound metabolic disturbances, damage to the retina and optic nerves, and potentially death.
Case Presentation: The patient was a 26-year-old male with alcohol use disorder who presented with one day of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain after consuming hand sanitiser. Within a few hours, the patient had suffered multiple seizures, cardiac arrests and required admission to the ICU for emergent management of methanol poisoning. EEG and brain perfusion imaging were performed to confirm brain death, given concerns about the cranial nerve exam after methanol poisoning.
Conclusions: While rare, methanol toxicity remains a potentially fatal poisoning in the United States and worldwide. When healthcare and public resources are strained, healthcare professionals must consider particularly abnormal presentations. In patients suspected of brain death from methanol toxicity, cranial nerve examination may be unreliable. Therefore, additional testing is necessary to confirm brain death.
Introduction: Inhaled epoprostenol (iEpo) is a pulmonary vasodilator used to treat refractory respiratory failure, including that caused by Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia.
Aim of Study: To describe the experience at three teaching hospitals using iEpo for severe respiratory failure due to COVID-19 and evaluate its efficacy in improving oxygenation.
Methods: Fifteen patients were included who received iEpo, had confirmed COVID-19 and had an arterial blood gas measurement in the 12 hours before and 24 hours after iEpo initiation.
Results: Eleven patients received prone ventilation before iEpo (73.3%), and six (40%) were paralyzed. The partial pressure of arterial oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen (P/F ratio) improved from 95.7 mmHg to 118.9 mmHg (p=0.279) following iEpo initiation. In the nine patients with severe ARDS, the mean P/F ratio improved from 66.1 mmHg to 95.7 mmHg (p=0.317). Ultimately, four patients (26.7%) were extubated after an average of 9.9 days post-initiation.
Conclusions: The findings demonstrated a trend towards improvement in oxygenation in critically ill COVID-19 patients. Although limited by the small sample size, the results of this case series portend further investigation into the role of iEpo for severe respiratory failure associated with COVID-19.
This report concerns a young man who attempted suicide by ingesting a cocktail with a lethal dose of chloroquine phosphate and large amounts of diazepam. On presentation, the patient was drowsy, unresponsive and in cardiogenic shock with severely impaired left ventricular function. Active charcoal and vasopressors were administered, and despite his intoxication with diazepam, a high-dose diazepam treatment was initiated in the hospital. It is concluded that diazepam in the cocktail played a vital role in the survival of this patient. With a rise in numbers, every emergency and intensive care physician should be familiar with chloroquine poisoning.
Acute Motor Axonal Neuropathy (AMAN) is an immune-mediated disorder of the peripheral nervous system, part of the spectrum of the Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). An infectious event most often triggers it reported a few weeks before the onset. The reported case is of a 56 years-old woman who developed acute motor axonal neuropathy three weeks after respiratory infection with influenza A virus subtype H1N1. Despite early treatment with plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulins, the patient remained tetraplegic, mechanically ventilated for five months, with repetitive unsuccessful weaning trails. The probable cause was considered to be phrenic nerve palsy in the context of acute motor axonal neuropathy. This case highlights that acute motor axonal neuropathy is a severe and life-threatening form of Guillain-Barre syndrome associated with significant mortality and morbidity. Neurological and physical recovery strongly depend on the inter-professional effort in an intensive care unit and neurology professionals.
Endotracheal tube obstruction by a mucus plug causing a ball-valve effect is a rare but significant complication. The inability to pass a suction catheter through the endotracheal tube with high peak and plateau pressure differences are classical features of an endotracheal tube obstruction. A case is described of endotracheal tube obstruction from a mucus plug that compounded severe respiratory acidosis and hypotension in a patient who simultaneously had abdominal compartment syndrome. The mucus plug was not identified until a bronchoscopic assessment of the airway was performed. Due to the absence of classical signs, the delayed identification of the obstructing mucus plug exacerbated diagnostic confusion. It resulted in various treatments being trialed whilst the patient continued to deteriorate from the evasive offending culprit. We suggest that earlier and more routine use of bronchoscopy should be employed in an intensive care unit, especially as a definitive way to rule out endotracheal obstruction.
Introduction: Neuraxial techniques, including epidural anaesthesia, are often used for perioperative pain control and are generally safe. However, both transient, mild and even severe, life-threatening neurologic complications can occur.
Case presentation: A seventy-eight-year-old man was admitted to the hospital for a radical nephrectomy plus transurethral resection due to kidney and bladder cancer. During the epidural exploration, an accidental dural puncture was noted. This was followed by the patient complaining of an intense headache. The epidural catheter was placed in a different location, and surgery was performed uneventfully. The patient presented with confusion, agitation, vertical nystagmus, vision loss, and paraparesis about two hours later. The epidural levobupivacaine and morphine infusion were stopped, followed by motor block resolution. A computerized head-tomography scan showed extra-axial multiple air spots involving the frontal and temporal lobes. Emergent hyperbaric oxygen therapy was commenced. After a single session, there was complete resolution of all symptoms and a marked reduction in the number and volume of the extra-axial air visible on the CT scan.
Conclusions: Although rare, pneumocephalus is a well-recognized complication of a dural puncture. Its rapid recognition in a patient with new-onset neurological symptoms and early treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy allows rapid clinical and imaging resolution and an improved prognosis.
Female patients in the peripartum and postpartum periods have an increased risk of stroke than nonpregnant women. Cerebrovascular complications of pregnancy represent a significant cause of maternal mortality and morbidity and are potentially disabling. Acute basilar artery occlusion secondary to spontaneous vertebral artery dissection in the postpartum period is an infrequent entity and a major diagnostic and treatment challenge. In the present case, a 37-year-old female patient, eight weeks after caesarean delivery, presented with a history of sudden cervical pain, followed by headache and dizziness. Some hours later, she was found unconscious by her family and was transferred to the emergency department, where a neurological status assessment suggested vertebrobasilar stroke. The imagistic workup revealed right vertebral artery dissection and basilar artery occlusion without constituted ischemic lesions. The patient underwent endovascular intervention with dilation of the narrowed vertebral artery and stent retriever basilar artery thrombectomy, with a favourable clinical outcome. This report first presents the details of this case and the relevant literature data on postpartum arterial dissections and the subsequent ischemic complications and available treatment options.
A 49-year-old female Qatari woman, with no past medical history, presented at a hospital complaining of a history of cough and shortness of breath. The patient tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome (ARDS) and COVID-19. Subsequently, her course of treatment was complicated by severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary embolism and severe myocarditis requiring treatment with venous-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to complete recovery.