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Wednesday
Aug102016

Ultrasound for Critical Care Physicians: Unraveling a Rapid Drop of Hematocrit

Deepti Baheti, MBBS

Pablo Garcia, MD

 

Department of Internal Medicine and LifeBridge Critical Care

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.

Baltimore, MD USA

 

An 85-year-old woman was admitted to our hospital with complaints of shortness of breath on exertion. Her medical history was significant for hypertension, pulmonary embolism and stage III chronic kidney disease. She was diagnosed with severe decompensated pulmonary hypertension and started to improve with diuretics. While hospitalized, she suffered an asystolic arrest and was successfully resuscitated. As a result of chest compressions, the patient developed multiple anterior rib fractures. Within a few days of recovering from her cardiac arrest, she was anticoagulated with enoxaparin as a bridge to warfarin for her prior history of pulmonary embolism. Five days after initiation of enoxaparin and warfarin, she was noted to have an acute drop in her hemoglobin from 8 g/dl to 5 g/dl. A thorough physical examination revealed a large area of swelling in her left anterior chest wall. Point-of- care ultrasound was utilized to image this area of swelling centered at the 3rd intercostal space between the mid-clavicular and anterior axillary line (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1. Ultrasound image of the chest wall in the sagittal plane.

 

Figure 2. Ultrasound image of the chest wall in the transverse plane.

What is the cause of this patient’s acute anemia? (Click on the correct answer for an explanation)

Cite as: Baheti D, Garcia P. Ultrasound for critical care physicians: unraveling a rapid drop of hematocrit. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2016;13(2):84-7. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13175/swjpcc078-16 PDF 

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