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October 2016 Critical Care Case of the Month

Stephanie Fountain, MD

Banner University Medical Center Phoenix

Phoenix, AZ USA


Critical Care Case of the Month CME Information

Members of the Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and California Thoracic Societies and the Mayo Clinic are able to receive 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ for each case they complete. Completion of an evaluation form is required to receive credit and a link is provided on the last panel of the activity. 

0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™

Estimated time to complete this activity: 0.25 hours 

Lead Author(s): Stephanie Fountain, MD.  All Faculty, CME Planning Committee Members, and the CME Office Reviewers have disclosed that they do not have any relevant financial relationships with commercial interests that would constitute a conflict of interest concerning this CME activity.

Learning Objectives:
As a result of this activity I will be better able to:

  1. Correctly interpret and identify clinical practices supported by the highest quality available evidence.
  2. Will be better able to establsh the optimal evaluation leading to a correct diagnosis for patients with pulmonary, critical care and sleep disorders.
  3. Will improve the translation of the most current clinical information into the delivery of high quality care for patients.
  4. Will integrate new treatment options in discussing available treatment alternatives for patients with pulmonary, critical care and sleep related disorders.

Learning Format: Case-based, interactive online course, including mandatory assessment questions (number of questions varies by case). Please also read the Technical Requirements.

CME Sponsor: University of Arizona College of Medicine

Current Approval Period: January 1, 2015-December 31, 2016

Financial Support Received: None


A 27-year-old Caucasian man with past medical history of opioid abuse (reportedly sober for 10 years on buprenorphine), post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety presented to the emergency department complaining of dysarthria after taking diphenhydramine and meclizine in addition to his prescribed trazodone and buprenorphine to try to sleep. He was discharged to home after his symptoms appeared to improve with intravenous fluid.

He returned to the emergency department the following afternoon with worsening dysarthria, dysphagia, and subjective weakness. The patient was non toxic appearing, afebrile, vital signs were stable and his strength was reported as 5/5. Computed tomography  of his head did not show any evidence of acute intracranial abnormality. Given his ongoing complaints, he was admitted for observation to the general medicine wards.

That night a rapid response was initiated when the nurse found the patient to be unresponsive, but spontaneously breathing. The patient’s clinical status did not change with naloxone administration. An arterial blood gas obtained demonstrated a profound respiratory acidosis with a pH of 7.02 and a pCO2 of 92. He was emergently intubated. A chest x-ray was performed (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Panel A: admission portable chest x-ray. Panel B: chest -ray immediately after intubation. 

Which of the following are present on his chest X-ray? (Click on the correct answer to proceed to the second or four panels)

  1. Left lung atelectasis
  2. Left pleural effusion
  3. Right mainstem intubation
  4. 1 and 3
  5. All of the above

Cite as: Fountain S. October 2016 critical care case of the month. Soutwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2016:13(4):159-64. doi: PDF

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